WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Most lung cancer starts in the cells that line the airways of the lungs. The 2 basic types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Surgery may cause bleeding or an infection. You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Even with treatment, the cancer may spread or return.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.
Keep the head of your bed raised to help you breathe easier. You can also raise your head and shoulders up on pillows or rest in a reclining chair. If you feel short of breath, let caregivers know right away.
You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your caregiver before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Blood tests: These tests may be used to check for infection or to test liver function.
- Chest x-ray: This picture of your lungs and heart may show the location of the cancer or signs of infection.
- Bronchoscopy: This test is done to look inside your airway and lungs. Caregivers insert a bronchoscope (a tube with a light and magnifying glass on the end) into your mouth and down into your lungs. You may get medicine for pain or to help you relax during the test.
- Biopsy: A sample of lung tissue may be collected during a bronchoscopy. The sample will be sent to a lab and checked for abnormal cells.
- CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your chest. The pictures may show where the cancer is located, and how big it is. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
- MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your chest. An MRI may show changes to organs or blood vessels. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.
- Bone scan: This test can show if cancer has spread to your bones.
Treatment for lung cancer is based on the type, size, and location of the tumor. You may need more than one of the following:
- Surgery: This is done on tumors that are small and have not spread to other parts of the body. If the tumor cannot be completely removed, surgery may be used to treat complications or to decrease your symptoms.
- Chemotherapy: This medicine is used to treat cancer by killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink lymph nodes that have cancer in them.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.