Lung Cancer: Living with Cancer

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn more about coping with the emotional aspects of being diagnosed with lung cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Because lung cancer is associated with smoking, patients may feel that they will not receive as much support or help from people around them because they believe that others will think that their behavior caused the disease. The truth is that most smokers do not develop lung cancer, and not all patients with lung cancer smoke. Lung cancer is a disease that can affect anyone. In fact, most people who get lung cancer today have either stopped smoking years earlier or never smoked.

For most patients, a diagnosis of lung cancer is extremely stressful. Some patients with lung cancer develop anxiety and, less commonly, depression. Patients and their families should not be afraid to express the way they are feeling to doctors, nurses, and social workers. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special training and experience that can make things easier for patients and their families.

In addition to emotional support and education, the doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication and occasionally, an antidepressant. He or she may refer the patient to a counselor, psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist. Furthermore, patients and their families should be aware that there are resources available in the community to help people living with lung cancer. Some patients feel comfortable discussing their disease and experiences throughout treatment with their doctor, nurse, family, friends, or other patients through a support group. These patients may also join a support group or advocacy group in order to increase awareness about lung cancer and to help fellow patients who are living with this disease.

A lung cancer diagnosis is serious. However, patients can be hopeful that their doctors can offer them effective treatment. They may also be able to take some comfort knowing that the advances being made in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer will provide more and more patients with a chance for cure.

Learn more about the counseling, finding a support group, and being a cancer advocate.

The next section helps explain medical tests and check-ups needed after finishing cancer treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select After Treatment, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.