What to Ask Your Doctor After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis

If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, life can suddenly become overwhelming. Go into your doctor’s office armed with the top questions for which you need answers.


What type do I have?

There are several types of lung cancer. They include non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and carcinoid lung tumors. Non-small cell lung cancer is further subdivided into adenocarcinoma, squamous cell and large cell. Your doctor will discuss with you the type of lung cancer found. This is important because lung cancer treatment is based on the type and possibly the sub-type of lung cancer you have.

Where is it located?

It may seem obvious that lung cancer is located in the lungs, but that’s not the only area it can affect. Lung cancer also can spread to the lymph nodes between the lungs, or it can spread to areas outside of the lungs.

What stage of lung cancer do I have?

The stages of lung cancer are numbered from zero to four. In general, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. The stage of your lung cancer will help determine your treatment options.

For my stage of disease, what are my treatment options and associated side effects?

Lung cancer treatment options often include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination. The side effects of treatment can be different for each person. Side effects can vary based on the type of lung cancer you have and the type of treatment you receive.

Should we do molecular testing on my tumor?

There are genetic mutations that can occur in cancer. Certain types of lung cancer, especially adenocarcinoma, should be tested for these mutations, as there are targeted therapies that can be used in treatment. These are usually oral medications.


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