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Your lung cancer treatment options are determined by your lung cancer type (including any biomarkers you may have), lung cancer stage, and lung cancer treatment goals.
When making lung cancer treatment goals, ask yourself two questions:
1) What do I want out of lung cancer treatment?
2) Is this a realistic goal with my type of lung cancer?
You will work with your lung cancer care team to decide if the goal of treatment should be curing your lung cancer, controlling your lung cancer or being comfortable. Now is a good time to talk about what is important to you in terms of quality of life. Maybe you want to be able to attend a wedding or graduation. Or maybe you prioritize controlling your cancer over experiencing fewer side effects. Whatever your preferences might be, it is important to discuss them with your doctor.
Once your doctors have determined your lung cancer profile, they will present you with one or a combination of the following options:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Clinical trials
- Supportive/Palliative Care
- Complementary and Alternative Lung Cancer Therapies
Most people are familiar with surgery, radiation and traditional chemotherapy. But targeted therapy and immunotherapy are newer types of treatment that should be explored when you speak with your doctor. Also discuss supportive, or palliative care, which can help with side effects and clinical trials which can potentially give you access to emerging therapies.
When you and your care team decide on treatment, familiarize yourself with what to expect and connect with others who have been through it. This can help ease the anxiety many patients feel before starting a treatment.
Lung Cancer Treatment Decision Making WorksheetDownload
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 18, 2017.