How Are Lung Cancer Treatment Decisions Made? | American Lung Association

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How Are Lung Cancer Treatment Decisions Made?

Key Points

  • Lung cancer treatment options are based on the following characteristics:
    • Type of lung cancer
    • Lung cancer stage
    • Other patient health issues
    • Patient preferences
  • You and your care team work together to make lung cancer treatment decisions.

What Are Patient Preferences?

These are considerations such as what kind of lung cancer treatment side effects you think you can tolerate, your schedule, what types of treatment make you most comfortable and any other personal preferences you might have.

Based on your lung cancer profile and your personal preferences, your doctor will present you with one or a combination of the following options:

You may also qualify for a clinical trial. If your doctor does not bring this up, ask more questions about whether these are options for you.

Once you find out which lung cancer treatments are recommended, you should ask your doctor about:

  • Potential side effects of lung cancer treatments
  • Ways to manage lung cancer treatment side effects
  • Length of treatment
  • Goal of treatment
  • Your own goals

Doctors' appointments can be overwhelming. It is helpful to take a list of questions to the appointments with you. Download our Questions for Your Lung Cancer Care Team as a guide. You may also want to ask a family member or trusted friend to come with you to meet the team and help keep notes.

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Learn more about your specific type of lung cancer and treatment options using our My Lung Cancer Treatment Planning Tool

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    PDF Download

    Lung Cancer Treatment Decision-Making Worksheet


    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 17, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: March 11, 2019

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