How can you plan for a life with lung cancer? | American Lung Association

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How can you plan for a life with lung cancer?

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Lung cancer patients need to be their own advocates when it comes to treatment and support. It can be difficult to know when to have conversations about the future. It is best to make plans and learn all you can earlier rather than later. Meeting with financial and legal professionals and filling out any necessary paperwork can make you feel more in control of your situation. Below are some actions you can take to plan for your future:

  • Consult with professionals when possible. Accountants, financial advisors and lawyers can provide expert advice about paying for care, government benefits and working with your employer. Be sure to find professionals you trust who are qualified to help you with these matters. Consider the person's experience and education, ask for references and set up introductory meetings.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to help you. Living with cancer is exhausting. It is a great idea to ask someone you trust to join you for conversations and to help you with research and paperwork.
  • Understand your medical leave and disability options. If you are unsure about whether or not you should stop work or take a break, your doctor may be able to provide guidance. Your doctor can also make sure there are notes in your medical chart that show how your disease affects your ability to work. You may also be eligible for government benefits that can help ease the financial burden of cancer. Visit to learn more.
  • Get your financial records in order and store them all in one secure place.
  • Write a will.
  • Create an advance directive (also called a living will). An advance directive outlines your end-of-life medical care choices. See a sample advance directive form or download a state specific form.
  • Sign and notarize a Durable Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney document designates someone you know and trust to make healthcare and financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Use a Life Planning Worksheet to guide conversations about your end-of-life care.
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    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 13, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: March 13, 2018

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