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This is not the time to quit smoking. If you want to quit, see your doctor or other health care provider. The risks of smoking are much higher with more advanced disease. The only way to avoid lung cancer is to quit.

Your doctor can tell you what to do.

If you have lung cancer or any other cancer, you should get a diagnosis and treatment as quickly as possible.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

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If you have symptoms, you should see your doctor (doctors are called doctors because they are health care providers) right away. If you don’t, you are more likely to die of lung cancer.

To help find lung cancer, your doctor will have to order a lot of tests and do a lot of work. Tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan (also called a CAT scan)
  • Bone scan
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy (tissue sample)
  • Lung function tests
  • Sputum test

How is lung cancer treated?

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Chemotherapy (chemo) is a drug that kills cancer cells. Chemo is given into a vein, usually by a vein that has been removed from your arm. Once in the blood, the chemo goes to all of the cancer cells in your body. Chemo can be given alone or with radiation therapy. The goal is to kill as many cancer cells as possible.

Chemo is given in cycles of treatment. You will get treatment for many weeks or months at a time.

Chemo can be given in different ways:

  • You will get this treatment in a hospital.
  • You will get this treatment in a clinic.
  • You will get this treatment at home.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy, like chemo, is often given in cycles. But instead of being given into a vein, it is given directly into the tumor (called brachytherapy). This treatment may be used before or after chemo.

Radiation and chemo can be given at the same time, or radiation therapy may be given after chemo.

Side effects of treatments

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Side effects of radiation therapy and chemo are the same. They can include:

  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain
  • Skin changes
  • Vomiting

How can I find support?

Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be scary, but you can get support from family, friends, and others who are understanding. You may want to join a support group. These are groups of people who get together to talk about their cancer and help each other through it. It can help you feel less alone.

Your doctor can refer you to a lung cancer support group. Ask your doctor for more information.

Finding a lung cancer support group

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The American Lung Association has a guide to find a lung cancer support group in your area.

Other things you can do

If you have lung cancer, you may want to talk with other people who have had lung cancer. You can do this by:

  • Joining a support group
  • Calling your doctor or other health care provider
  • Talking to other people with cancer
  • Visiting blogs, websites, and other places talking about cancer

You can search for lung cancer support groups online.

Ask your doctor or other health care provider for more information.

Your doctor may also refer you to other health care providers, such as specialists in:

  • Clinical trials
  • Clinical trials for lung cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Coping with lung cancer

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If you are having trouble with your cancer, ask your doctor for help. You can talk to other people who have had cancer. You can also ask your doctor for help.

Talking with others

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People with lung cancer may find it helpful to talk to other people who have had lung cancer. Some people talk about their experiences with cancer. Others talk about their hopes for the future. Be sure to ask people with lung cancer what they like and don’t like about their treatment.

Talking to your doctor

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If you have lung cancer, it is important to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor will be able to help you understand your diagnosis and treatments. You may want to ask your doctor questions about the cancer and treatment. You can also ask your doctor to give you a copy of your medical records. Your doctor can also give you more information about lung cancer.

What can I do to stay healthy?

To stay healthy, get plenty of rest. Take care of yourself and keep your immune system strong.

Ask your doctor if you should take any vitamins or supplements. You may be given a prescription or a medicine. Do not take over-the-counter medicines unless your doctor tells you to.

The American Cancer Society also offers some information about staying healthy.

Where can I get more information?

The American Cancer Society has more information about lung cancer. You can call 18002272345, visit us on the Internet, or ask your cancer care team for more information.

The information on this page is provided as an information resource only. This information does not represent current treatment or clinical trials, nor does it replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team.

Cancer Resources

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  • Breast Cancer Resources
  • Lung Cancer Resources
  • Prostate Cancer Resources
  • Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Renal Cancer
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Lung Cancer (Second Opinion)
  • Prostate Cancer (Second Opinion)
  • Colorectal Cancer (Second Opinion)
  • Esophageal Cancer (Second Opinion)
  • Liver Cancer (Second Opinion)

The takeaway

Talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Find out what tests can find lung cancer in your body. If you have lung cancer, you will get treatment as soon as possible.

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