Chemotherapy for stage IV lung cancer may help lengthen and improve the quality of life for many patients with stage IV NSCLC. ASCO recommends different drug combinations based on a patient's performance status, overall health, and previous treatments. A patient's age should never be used as the only reason for deciding which treatment is best. It's important that patients and their families talk with the doctor about the benefits and risks of chemotherapy to help them choose the care that will help maintain or improve their quality of life. Many of these drugs cause different side effects and discussing the possible side effects of these treatments, both as single drugs and in combinations, and how to effectively manage or prevent any side effects can help patients make informed decisions about their care.
If disease-directed treatment is not successful, treatment may then focus on palliative or supportive care. This diagnosis is stressful, and it may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your doctor and health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning .