Small-Cell Lung Cancer
- Patients who are receiving chemotherapy require close monitoring for side effects and response to therapy.
- A blood workup, including CBC (complete blood count), is needed prior to each cycle of chemotherapy to ensure that the bone marrow has recovered before the next dose of chemotherapy is given.
- Kidney function is monitored, especially if the patient is taking cisplatin, as it can damage the kidneys. Also, carboplatin's dosage is based upon kidney function.
- The patient will undergo a CT scan to assess their response to treatment
- Other tests are performed to monitor liver function and electrolytes -- especially sodium and magnesium levels -- due to the effects of the cancer and its treatment.
Palliative and terminal care
Because small-cell lung cancer is diagnosed in most people when it is not curable, palliative care becomes important. The goal of palliative and terminal care is to manage pain and discomfort and enhance quality of life.
Palliative care not only focuses on comfort but also addresses the concerns of the patient’s family and loved ones. Caregivers may include family and friends in addition to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
Palliative and terminal care is often given in a hospital, hospice, or nursing home; however, it can also be provided at home.
The following organizations can help with palliative and terminal care:
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
(800) 658-8898 (Helpline)
Hospice Association of America
Hospice Education Institute
Lung Cancer Prevention
Unlike many other cancers, lung cancer is associated with known risk factors for the disease. The predominant cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking; therefore, the most important means of preventing lung cancer is to quit smoking.
Products that are available to help quit smoking include nicotine gum, medicated nicotine sprays or inhalers, nicotine patches, and oral drugs. In addition, group therapy and behavioral training further increase the chances of quitting.
For information about how to quit smoking, visit the following links:
Other risk factors for lung cancer include asbestos, radon, and uranium exposure. Take precautions to reduce or eliminate exposure to such harmful substances.