If you're facing a lung cancer diagnosis, it's not uncommon to feel afraid, confused, overwhelmed or just plain alone. You want to hear and understand what the doctor is saying, but so often, people report that getting that actual diagnosis just sounds like the incoherent noises of Charlie Brown's teacher. Once they have time to digest the news, many people take to the Internet to learn more about their disease and locate resources. The amount of information and advice they find can be overwhelming. Nothing is more personal than your health, and you need information you can trust. Luckily, you don't have to sift through the clutter alone. The American Lung Association offers free reliable information online and through our Lung Cancer HelpLine.
Connecting with a reputable lung cancer organization like the Lung Association is a great first step. All of our materials are reviewed by a team of medical and health education specialists to ensure the information is accurate and easy to understand. We also know you might not have the time or energy to read through pages and pages of material. That is why we offer two specific resources that give you just what you need at the moment of diagnosis.
Our Lung Cancer Action Guide takes all of our educational material and resources and gives you what is pertinent to you in the moment. When you access the guide, you can select from a drop down menu which statement best describes you: are you newly diagnosed with lung cancer, a caregiver, someone who has been aware of the diagnosis for a longer time, or even concerned you might have lung cancer? Once you select what best describes you, a simple pathway of information tells you the steps you need to take and connects you with resources to help you stay organized.
Take tumor testing. Many patients don't even know they should ask to make sure their tumors are tested. In some major medical institutions, this type of testing is done automatically, but you would be surprised how many hospitals do not offer it. Tumor testing can help identify targeted therapies, which for many people with certain tumor markers are more effective and better tolerated than standard chemotherapy. The Lung Cancer Action Guide explains all of this information and more, so that you become empowered to get the best care possible, including accessing clinical trials and palliative care.
With a lung cancer diagnosis you are bound to have countless questions. But what if there were five key questions that could impact your course of treatment? The Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Lung Cancer Doctor condenses these down for you. Asking these questions puts you on the road to an open dialogue with your provider about the care you want and need. And if your provider can't answer these questions, it may be a clue that you should seek a second opinion.
Getting the care you want and need starts with an empowered and educated patient. These resources as well as our library of videos and worksheets available on Lung.org/lungcancer, can help ease your mind, assist you in staying organized and give you the confidence to take an active role in your care. And remember, you're not alone. If you want to talk to someone about your lung cancer journey, talk to our experts at the American Lung Association Lung Cancer HelpLine: 1-844-ALA-LUNG (1-844-252-5864). Our service is free and available as often as you need. Or join our Lung Cancer Survivors online community on Inspire. We are here to help you.
Our materials, along with our LUNG FORCE initiative, dedicated to defeating lung cancer, puts the patient front and center -- the way it should be. Many don't know anyone else who has gone through the same experience. Our LUNG FORCE community has many stories of others who have faced lung cancer and share their experience. For some, reading the stories helps them feel less isolated and more hopeful. For others, just sharing their story is therapeutic.
If you know someone facing lung cancer, whether they are a patient or caregiver, connect them with American Lung Association resources and encourage them to get involved in LUNG FORCE. Together we can build an army of empowered lung cancer advocates who get the care they deserve.