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Lung Cancer - Treatment Overview

Follow-up care

After initial treatment for lung cancer, it is important to receive follow-up care.

  • Your oncologist will schedule regular checkups, usually every 3 to 4 months, depending on the therapies used in initial treatment. After 2 to 3 years, regular checkups will occur less often but more than just once a year, depending on your medical history.
  • Checkups may include a physical exam, blood tests, chest X-rays, CT scans, or other laboratory tests recommended by your oncologist.

Clinical trials

You may be interested in participating in research studies called clinical trials. Clinical trials are based on the most up-to-date information and are designed to find better ways to treat people who have cancer.

People who do not want standard treatments or are not cured by standard treatments may want to participate in clinical trials. These are ongoing in most parts of the United States and in some other countries around the world for all stages of lung cancer.

Supportive care

Cancer treatment has two main goals: curing cancer and making your quality of life as good as possible. Palliative care can improve your quality of life by helping you manage your symptoms. It also can help you with other concerns that you may have when you're living with a serious illness.

One study of people with non-small cell lung cancer who started palliative care when they were diagnosed with lung cancer found that they not only felt better but also lived a little longer than the people who didn't have palliative care.8

For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief. But this isn't the end of treatment. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care.

It can be hard to decide when to stop treatment to prolong your life and shift the focus to end-of-life care.

To learn about supportive care, see:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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