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Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. The following are subtypes of NSCLC:
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is found in cells that line the airways of the lungs. It is usually found in the middle of the lung.
  • Adenocarcinoma is found in cells that produce mucus. It is usually found in the outer parts of the lung.
  • Large cell carcinoma can be found in any part of the lung.
  • Other subtypes such as adenosquamos carcinoma and sarcomatoid carcinoma, are less common.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You suddenly have more trouble breathing than usual.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You cannot think clearly.
  • Your lips or nails look blue or pale.
  • You have a headache or dizziness.
  • You have more swelling in your face, arms, neck , or chest.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have severe pain.
  • Your symptoms such as wheezing, or cough, get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Self-care:

  • Quit smoking. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
    • Smokefree.gov
      Phone: 1- 800 - 784-8669
      Web Address: www.smokefree.gov
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can make breathing problems worse. Ask your healthcare provider if alcohol is safe for you to drink.
  • Use pursed-lip breathing any time you feel short of breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Slowly breathe out through your mouth with your lips pursed for twice as long as you inhaled. You can also practice this breathing pattern while you bend, lift, climb stairs, or exercise. It slows down your breathing and helps move more air in and out of your lungs.
    Breathe in Breathe out
  • Eat small frequent meals. Your shortness of breath may make it difficult to eat a lot of food at one time. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Drink extra liquids to prevent dehydration. You will need to drink extra liquids if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments.
  • Balance exercise with rest. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise may improve your energy levels and appetite. It can also help you heal faster after treatment or surgery. Rest when you feel tired.

Use oxygen as directed:

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 healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing. Do not smoke and stay away from others that smoke when you use oxygen.

Follow up with your oncologist as directed:

You may need to return for pulmonary function tests (PFTs) to see how well your lungs are working. You will need to see your oncologist frequently for ongoing treatments. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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