How Life Changes After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Very few things terrify a person as much as hearing they have cancer. Sadly, more than half a million Americans today live with a history of lung cancer. Some men and women continue to fight this battle while others have beaten the disease back and are currently in remission. Thanks to improvements in lung cancer screening, doctors can find the disease earlier and help patients live longer lives. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean those diagnosed with this type of cancer will easily return to their former life. Many individuals find they face lingering side effects that impact their quality of life. What types of problems might a person experience?

Side Effects of Lung Cancer

People often call in at home hospice care when a cure is no longer possible or they wish to stop treatment for some reason. The hospice team becomes of great help when this moment comes. Nevertheless, those who survive lung cancer and live for years find they struggle with a different set of challenges.

Lung cancer survivors often suffer from side effects over the long term, even after they are told they are in remission. Physical side effects range from fatigue and neuropathy to shortness of breath and wheezing. In fact, up to 70 percent of survivors have at least one ongoing respiratory issue. However, physical side effects serve as only one complication for lung cancer survivors.

Financial difficulties plague many individuals after a cancer diagnosis. They may no longer be able to work or find the medical bills are overwhelming. Some individuals lack insurance coverage, which compounds the stress of the cancer diagnosis. Regardless of what leads to the financial issues, they affect the survivor’s quality of life.

Fatigue remains a problem for countless lung cancer survivors. These individuals need an integrated approach to achieve the highest quality of life. The cancer medical team may recommend exercise, a nutrition consultation, and a sleep assessment to best learn how to help the patient deal with this fatigue.

Emotional Changes

With a lung cancer diagnosis comes the realization that every person is mortal and has a limited time on the planet. Men and women must accept that they are no longer the same person and life remains uncertain. People often find they are sad and grieve the loss of their former life. They may experience anxiety and worry cancer will return or already has. Survivors need to speak up and share these feelings with others, so a plan can be developed to deal with or overcome them. It is a good idea to seek cancer counselling whether you are a patient or a carer.

Obtaining Care

Lung cancer survivors should speak to their cancer treatment center for help in dealing with these lingering side effects. The team might recommend pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory therapy. Exercise may help reduce respiratory problems, and the doctor might prescribe medication to help the patient. Other treatment options include physical or occupational therapy, massage therapy, or acupuncture.

Never try a new treatment option without speaking to the medical team. No person wants to harm their health unintentionally when trying to improve it. Sadly, there are people in the world who will offer unusual cures for various ailments. These treatments rarely work and only leave the buyer feeling worse than they did before they spent the money. Avoid these products unless they are recommended by the medical team. Save those funds for other things that will improve the quality of life.

Surviving lung cancer serves as only the first step in an ongoing process. Men and women find they must seek help when needed to overcome these side effects. Doing so helps this individual live the highest quality of life possible, which is what every person wants.


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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