If you’re newly diagnosed with lung cancer, you may be feeling overwhelmed with many questions. This guide aims to help you address some likely questions and prepare you for your first appointment with a lung cancer specialist – to assist you in finding the right path for your lung cancer treatment.
Your diagnosis may have come from your primary care physician, a pulmonologist (lung specialist), or another doctor who cared for you when you noticed symptoms. However, you’ll need to see an oncologist for cancer treatment. 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 and develop a specific treatment plan for you based on the type of lung cancer you have. The medical oncologist also typically leads the care for lung cancer patients by bringing in other types of doctors as needed for your treatment plan.
Compass Oncology's lung cancer care team includes medical oncologists who specialize in the needs of lung cancer patients in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. While being treated at an outpatient office, you will also meet with other lung cancer specialists throughout the treatment program.
There are many categories of lung cancer, as it is not just one disease with one treatment method. The most common types are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
The results of the biopsy and images taken will allow your oncologist to determine the location and extent of the lung cancer and if it has spread to other parts of the body.
There are different methods of treating lung cancer based on the type of lung cancer you have, as well as the size and stage of the tumor. Standard lung cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.
Many new lung cancer treatments have been approved and used in combination with long-standing treatments. For some types of lung cancer, new treatments have replaced the first line of treatment previously given. Compass Oncology has clinical trials available to our lung cancer patients who qualify.
We highly recommend that you take a relative or friend to your appointments who can help you with taking notes and listening since there will be a lot of information reviewed, and it can be hard to process everything if you’re alone.
Here are some useful tips on how you can remember what you're told and keep track of questions you'd like to ask your lung cancer specialist.
Before you see an oncologist, we recommend getting a notebook and folder to take notes and keep paperwork together for your lung cancer treatment. You may want to use your note-taking system to write down questions as they come up amongst your family members or things that you may want to ask your oncologist regarding your diagnosis, treatment, or any other parts of your cancer journey. Or, you may prefer using the “notes” feature on your phone.
Start this notebook as soon as you’re diagnosed, even if you’re seeing your Primary Care Physician or a pulmonologist before you consult with an oncologist. Keep track of any questions, dates, medicine schedules, and how you are feeling. Include any questions, thoughts, or observations you have regarding appointments and procedures. Try to put a date on everything you write down to keep your thoughts and notes organized. This is all important information to share with your lung cancer care team.
It’s really important that you feel confident in the diagnosis and the doctor who will be leading your cancer treatment. Many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning any lung cancer treatment plan, and that is perfectly normal. At Compass Oncology, our physicians provide many second opinions – for all types of cancer diagnoses and treatment plans. Most insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but you should always check with your insurance provider to check your coverage before making an appointment.
To schedule a second opinion with one of our physicians, please choose a location that is convenient for you and call our office to make an appointment.
We know this is a difficult time, but you can do this. The Compass Oncology team of physicians and cancer care specialists are ready to help you every step of the way. There are also cancer support groups that Compass Oncology hosts, as well as others in the Portland and Vancouver communities that can help you. You can also check out our list of support groups that you may find helpful.