8 Tips for Finding Support During Stage 3 Lung Cancer Treatment
- Understanding Your OptionsGetting the right kind of support is important when dealing with any kind of cancer. Stage 3 lung cancer is particularly unique because this diagnosis comes with a range of cancer treatment options including chemotherapy, radiation and sometimes surgery. Some patients may also want to add complementary therapies like yoga, meditation and acupuncture to help them deal with the side effects from chemo and radiation. Managing all of these choices can be tough. Fortunately, there are many resources for making smart decisions and coping with the challenges that come with stage 3 lung cancer treatment.
- 1. Explore Online ResourcesSearching for resources online is a quick way to get an overview of your support options. Agencies like the Lung Cancer Alliance, Cancer Support Community, and LUNGevity provide excellent support for living with cancer. Most of these services host online communities, so you can get to know other cancer patients and survivors in your area and across the globe. Many also feature support hotlines for immediate assistance. Take a look at several web sites before choosing the one that provides the kind of lung cancer support you need.
- 2. Attend Local Support GroupsIf in-person support suits your style, search for cancer support groups in your area. Some focus on people with lung cancer or you can find general treatment support from groups that work with all types of cancer patients. Meeting people in your community who are facing the same challenges as you can provide comfort and provide group therapy for coping with the physical and emotional challenges of lung cancer. It also gives you an opportunity to share stories with others who are having or have had a similar experience. Every group is different, so visit a few to find the right fit for you.
- 3. Find a Local Cancer CenterMany hospitals have cancer centers that offer a variety of programs from counseling to nutrition to spiritual care. You can also find resources here to help with practical issues like insurance paperwork, financial assistance, lodging, and transportation. Having a resource center to visit regularly provides a comfortable place to interact with other patients, survivors, and cancer treatment experts. Talk to your doctor about what cancer center options are available in your area.
- 4. Share Your StoryJournaling and sharing your cancer story with others can help you process the emotions that come with battling lung cancer. Look for social media outlets where you can express what you’re going through. Facing Lung Cancer: Support From Day One is an excellent forum for this. You can also add your voice to LUNG FORCE®—a movement connecting women who are fighting against lung cancer.
- 5. Talk to SurvivorsJoining the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network can provide a positive boost and give you hope for living with and recovering from cancer. You may also want to try the Cancer Hope Network. They have a matching system that connects you with survivors who have similar interests or experience with cancer. The I Had Cancer peer-to-peer support network is a vibrant online forum that features unique “Dear Cancer…” letters and other unique ways to swap stories with survivors.
- 6. Consider Financial AssistanceCancer treatment can get expensive and many people don’t realize there are support resources to help with financial issues. CancerCare® is a non-profit agency that offers financial assistance to people affected by cancer. If they don’t have the funds to help, their oncology social workers are happy to refer you to other financial assistance resources. Again, your local cancer center may also have financial services. Don’t forget to ask your support network for advice.
- 7. Keep Your Doctors in the LoopBe sure to let your doctor know you are seeking additional support. They may have recommendations that can fulfill your specific needs. Stage 3 lung cancer patients are often good candidates for clinical trials of new cancer drugs or treatment. Clinical trials are good way to get state-of-the-art cancer treatment, so ask your doctor to help you find one at their hospital or other cancer treatment centers.
- 8. Involve Your Friends and FamilyEven as you seek outside support, keep your family and friends involved in what you’re doing. Being the caregiver or loved one of a cancer patient can be emotionally and physically challenging. Many support services and communities have special programs for family and friends to help them cope as well. They want to understand your story and experience, so they can help you through it. Make them a part of your support program and let them know about support options they can participate in with you or on their own.