In most hospitals, a team of specialists will talk to you about the treatment they feel is best for your situation. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) will include a:
- surgeon who specialises in lung cancers (thoracic surgeon)
- medical oncologist (chemotherapy specialist)
- clinical oncologist (radiotherapy and chemotherapy specialist)
- nurse specialist
- radiologist who helps to analyse x-rays and scans
- pathologist who advises on the type and extent of the cancer.
It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a palliative care doctor or nurse who specialises in symptom control, dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist (OT), psychologist or counsellor.
The MDT will take a number of factors into account when advising you on the best course of action, including your general health, the type and size of the tumour, and whether it has begun to spread.
If you smoke and have a lung cancer diagnosis, your doctor may advise you to try to stop smoking. Giving up smoking can have a positive effect on your treatment. Your GP should be able to offer different treatments to help you quit. Whether or not you stop should not affect the treatment plan your team offer you.
If two treatments are equally effective for your type and stage of cancer, your doctors may offer you a choice of treatments. Sometimes people find it hard to make a decision.
If you’re asked to make a decision, make sure that you have enough information about the different options, what they involve and the possible side effects. This is so you can decide on the right treatment for you.
Remember to ask questions about any aspects you don’t understand or that you feel worried about. It may help to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each option with your cancer specialist, nurse specialist or with our cancer support specialists.
If you have any questions about your own treatment, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse. It often helps to make a list of questions and to take a relative or close friend with you.