Coping With Lung Cancer

Typically, the initial reaction for most people that have Lung Cancer is disbelief. It is not unusual to feel confused, upset, shocked, frightened and worried. In this situation It is hard for people to get over the "I can't believe this is happening to me" effect. Individuals affected by lung cancer often feel concerned that they will not be able to cope with whatever road is ahead of them. Coping with lung cancer is easier with the support of family and friends, but it is important to practice good self-care as well. Being prepared for doctor visits, being informed on the condition and treatments and having suggestions for how loved ones can help you, can go a long way in your coping process.

"Lung cancer impacts one in 14 Americans and is the leading cancer killer in the nation," said Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "Because lung cancer is a complex and life-changing disease, it is important that people living with lung cancer know they are not alone; Facing Lung Cancer offers them support and guidance during every stage of their disease."

Step 1: Be informed- Enlighten yourself about your lung cancer to feel comfortable making decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about the type of cancer you have, the stage, your treatment options and their side effects. As you think of them, write down questions and ask them at your next appointment. Ask your health care team about additional sources of information such as pamphlets, brochures, websites, hotlines, etc.

Step 2: Be proactive- Although you may feel drained and discouraged, try not to let others make important decisions for you. Take an active role in your treatment and work with your doctors and family members to make your health care decisions.

Step 3: Build your support group- Your family and friends may be feeling equally shocked and worried about you. Sometimes this can affect your relationship with them and you may find it hard to know how to talk about your cancer. This may make you feel even more alone, but there are health professionals who can help and support you. A strong support system helps you cope with everyday difficulties. Friends and family are worried about you and want to help, so learn to accept help and ask for it when you need it.

Step 4: Finding strength to pull through- Find hope in this situation by thinking positively. Follow your doctor's treatment instructions carefully. Stay physically active. This will help keep your body healthy as well as keep your spirits up. Stick to healthy foods and beverages. This is the time to be as healthy as possible. Bottom line: don't get discouraged. It is possible to beat this monster.

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