Lung Cancer: Planning for the Future
Lung cancer is hard to cure. But it often can be treated and controlled. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what outcomes you might expect. Having a plan for your future can be a great source of comfort. You can help make sure you get the type of care you want. Or, if someone else needs to decide about your treatment, you can choose that person ahead of time and make sure they understand what you want. By taking care of these details, you may feel more at ease.
These are hard discussions to have. But knowing what you do and don't want can make things easier for your healthcare team and your loved ones if the time comes when you're unable to express these things.
|Look to loved ones for support and help finding information.
Being in control
Do what you can to stay in control of your illness during and after treatment. Learning about lung cancer and treatment choices can help. Look for information about surviving with cancer. Check the library, look online, or join a support group. You may want to let others become involved in your health, too. Talking with a counselor can also help you get information. They can discuss choices with you and your family. Your close friends and loved ones may provide support when you need it most.
Advance medical directives
Advance medical directives, like living wills, are legal statements that explain your healthcare wishes. You can describe which treatments you want or don't want. You can say when you want treatment to end. You can also name someone, such as a spouse, a close friend, or a sibling, to make treatment choices for you when you can't tell them yourself. Your healthcare provider and team can give you forms and answer your questions.
Palliative care is available to anyone with a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to help you have a better quality of life. This is done by managing symptoms of your illness or side effects of treatment, such as pain or nausea. It can be offered at any stage of a serious illness, such as during active cancer treatment. Ask your healthcare provider about palliative care to see if it's right for you.
You may not have a need for hospice care now or in the future. But if a time comes when you're not responding to treatment, hospice can give support. Hospice provides comfort and care when cancer treatments are no longer helping. Your healthcare provider can discuss with you if hospice is a choice.
Hospice can give as little or as much help as needed. It provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care. And information and resources. Its focus is to keep you feeling as good as possible for as long as possible. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms and providing supportive care, not managing the cancer.
You and your loved ones are at the center of care. A hospice care provider can come to your home. Or to other settings to receive care. So you may not need to see your regular healthcare provider as often. This can ease worry for you, and for others in your life, too. It allows you time to focus on what's important to you and your loved ones.