Those who have been newly diagnosed as having lung cancer will want facts about it as quickly as possible. The facts about lung cancer, concerning its prevention are of little consequence to them now. What are the chances of survival? What are the treatments? How effective are they? These are the questions they will put to their doctors and are sure to get the facts about lung cancer from them. For their relatives and friends, once they have been informed, these facts are also of concern, but out of a sensitivity to this cancer’s victim, they will not ask the victim directly. They’ll come to the net to get the answers. So, let’s look at some of the direct facts about lung cancer. The answers will help you adjust to your relative or friend’s condition and help you adopt an appropriately compassionate attitude.
Lung cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect. Your lungs have no pain nerves. You cannot normally tell if you have lung cancer until the major symptoms appear, the principal one being the coughing up of blood. X-rays of lungs may show a spot that does not appear to be cancerous, only to become so later on. Because it is so difficult to detect, the cancer has time to grow, usually to a point that, when it is detectable, it’s too late. This means that your relative or friend is in a state of shock when they learn that they have been stricken. The shock is to their whole psyche. Their doctor has told them, depending on the cancer’s stage, that they have a little time left. Be sensitive to this shock. The way it is manifested varies from individual to individual. Your best first response is to tell them you are sorry to hear of it. Don’t hesitate to show your own grief. To know that you are as disappointed as they are will prove to be a comfort.
Let your relative or friend be the one to tell you what their doctor predicts. Life expectancy depends on the cancer’s stage of development. Facts about lung cancer survivability are rather cold. Certainly, some survive and go on to live for many years; in rare cases, full remission has occurred. Unfortunately, the stage of progression of the cancer after diagnosis is bleak. On average, lung cancer patients receiving chemotherapy may see 4.8 months without progression of the cancer, but in most cases, the cancer progresses and the patient may survive for just a total of 10.3 months after diagnosis.
As new drugs become available, facts about lung cancer survivability are changing on a yearly basis. In 2008 the drug Erbitux was tested and found to improve survivability from 10.1 months to 11.3, a 5 percent increase. The possibility of surviving for a year or more thus grew from 42 to 47 percent. Even at the time of this writing, new drugs are being developed.
Facts about lung cancer treatment relate to the side effects of chemotherapy. Loss of hair is the most obvious. Your relative or friend will appear anemic and will have rashes. Whatever you observe, do so with compassion. Be gentle. Be loving. If at all possible, leave your friend or relative with a smile, a medicine that always soothes.