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Diagnosed with Lung Cancer: Now What?

A lung cancer diagnosis can leave you filled with many emotions and many questions. To help you better prepare for your first visit with the lung cancer specialist, we’ve created this guide. Hopefully, it will help make your journey through cancer treatment a bit smoother.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis?

It’s likely that your primary care physician or a pulmonologist (lung specialist) diagnosed your lung cancer. For treatment, however, you will need to see an oncologist.

Oncology is the expertise of cancer, and a medical oncologist is a specialist in medicines, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Your medical oncologist will spend time with you and your family to understand your specific situation. They work closely with you and the rest of the Affiliated Oncologists team of lung cancer experts to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs based on the type of lung cancer you have. Typically, it is the medical oncologist who leads the care, bringing in other medical professionals, such as a lung cancer surgeon, radiation oncologist, and oncology nurse, as needed for your treatment plan.

It’s important to note that leading-edge, world-class care is available in the suburbs at Affiliated Oncologists. For most patients, driving into Chicago is not necessary. If you or a loved one have received a lung cancer diagnosis in the South Chicago area, find an oncologist near you in Chicago Ridge, Mokena, Hazel Crest, Oak Lawn, and Palos Heights, IL.


What is the Extent of My Lung Cancer?

More than likely, the biopsy results determined the type of lung cancer. This is a significant factor in the treatments that will be necessary. Your oncologist will also need to understand the extent of cancer, defined by stage. The stage of your lung cancer is decided based on the results of other tests and images that are needed to see if the cancer has spread.

At Affiliated Oncologists, the lung cancer specialist will evaluate your individual situation and specific type of lung cancer when recommending a treatment plan. With multiple locations throughout South Chicago, our patients are able to receive their cancer treatment where it is most convenient. Visit our Lung Cancer Treatment Options page to learn more about the various types of lung cancer treatment.

Should I Get a Second Opinion?

It’s important that you feel confident about your lung cancer diagnosis. This is why many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning a specific treatment plan. At Affiliated Oncologists, our physicians provide second opinions – for all types of cancer diagnoses and treatment plans. While many insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, you should contact them directly for verification before scheduling an appointment.


Preparing for the First Oncology Appointment

It’s a good idea to bring someone with you to your appointments. There will be a lot of information reviewed, which can be hard to process on your own. Having a friend or family member to assist with listening and taking notes can be incredibly helpful. Read our What to Expect During Your First Oncology Visit page before your initial visit to Affiliated Oncologists.

Keep Notes and Records

Because there will be so much information covered, we recommend that you get a notebook and folder to take notes and keep paperwork together during your lung cancer treatment journey. Or, if it’s more convenient, use the “notes” feature on your phone.

It’s wise to start notetaking as soon as you’re diagnosed rather than waiting until you meet with the oncologist. Keep track of any questions that you or your family members have, a list of what medicines or supplements you take and when, important dates, and how you are feeling. All of this is important information your lung cancer care team will want to know about.

Questions to Consider Asking Before You Arrive

As questions come up that you or your family may want to ask your oncologist regarding any part of your cancer journey, jot them down using your note-taking system. Here are some common questions that would be good to ask:

  • If you smoke, are there medications that can help stop your nicotine cravings? What about any smoking cessation programs?

  • What type of lung cancer do you have and what is the recommended course of treatment?

  • Can you expect certain side effects from treatment or the cancer itself?

  • For what things should you go see/call your primary care physician about rather than your oncologist?

  • Is surgery necessary? If so, when in the treatment process would that occur?

  • Are there any activities to avoid? Any you should add to your routine?

  • What is best to eat and drink while going through lung cancer treatment?

  • Is participating in a clinical trial an option?

  • Do you have access to supportive care such as support groups or counseling?

  • What patient resources does Affiliated Oncologists have that patients can take advantage of?

Which Treatments for Lung Cancer Will I Receive?

The type and stage of your lung cancer as well as your overall health condition will determine what treatments will work best for you. Together, the cancer care team will discuss the protocols that are known to work best for your specific condition and then recommend a treatment plan for you. There have been some major advancements in the past decade thanks to the results of clinical trials and new types of drug therapies for lung cancer.

Be sure to share any questions or concerns with your oncologist or another member of your cancer care team. They are here to help you understand your lung cancer treatment plan and put your mind at ease.

Advancements in Lung Cancer Treatment

There have been more therapies approved for lung cancer treatment in recent years. This has offered new treatment options for lung cancer patients and more approaches for treating this disease. Learn about advances in immunotherapy, targeted therapies, and clinical trials for lung cancer.


Clinical Trials for Lung Cancer Available

Affiliated Oncologists can provide access to the latest clinical trials in several convenient locations. We are currently offering multiple trials for eligible lung cancer patients.

Talk to your oncologist to find out if you are right for one of our available lung cancer trials. Learn more about clinical trials by visiting our Understanding Clinical Trials page.

You are Not Alone in Your Lung Cancer Journey

We understand that this is a difficult time, but you don’t have to go through it alone. At Affiliated Oncologists, we are here to provide support for you every step of the way in your cancer journey. There are various national resources available, but we can connect you with local ones as well. Visit our Patient Resources page for more lung cancer resources.

If you or a loved one are seeking lung cancer treatment or a second opinion on diagnosis in the South Chicago suburbs, request an appointment at one of our cancer centers near you. Affiliated Oncologists are located in Chicago Ridge, Mokena, Hazel Crest, Oak Lawn, and Palos Heights, IL.