Lung cancer can present challenges for patients that don't necessarily have to do with their health. These challenges can cause extra stress for all concerned. They could also potentially cause treatment delays. Here's a list of some situations that could come about—and ways you can help keep them under control.
Help your loved one read up on lung cancer and all the available treatment options. If you need help finding information on your loved one's disease or treatment plan, ask your nurse, oncology social worker, or doctor for guidance. It's important for a patient to be an active participant in his or her care. Your involvement may also make a difference. The goal is to make informed decisions about all that you can.
Getting to and from appointments is critical to good medical care. If you can't help with transportation, there are charitable organizations that can. Ask them how they can help coordinate transportation to medical care. The patient navigator or oncology social worker you're meeting with may even be able to help you arrange transportation.
Think about going with your loved one to appointments. Take notes. You can also help by scheduling the next appointment for your loved one and then following up so the appointment is not missed or delayed.
Make sure you or your loved one is working with an oncology social worker to talk through financial issues for cancer patients. It's critical that financial issues not get in the way of sound medical decisions. There are questions you should be asking and financial assistance programs you could be learning about. Start now.
Healthcare professionals often recommend we prioritize our thoughts and ask ourselves, "Can I control what's happening right now?"; "Can I make an impact on this situation later?"; or "Is this out of my control?". Attention to things beyond our control simply drains energy from where our efforts really can make a difference. Writing your thoughts down is also something an oncology professional may recommend. You or your loved one could start with this personal journal.
Managing different doctors and facilities can be confusing, demanding, and time-consuming. Look into getting a patient navigator or cancer care coordinator. Their job is to help you and your loved one coordinate doctor appointments, schedules, and other areas of concern.
Remind your loved one that others want to offer support and just need to know how and when they can help. And remind your loved one that he or she is not alone and simply needs to ask for help.
You can be an invaluable ally in your loved one’s battle with lung cancer. Visit our community of links, PDFs, magazine articles, infographics, etc. for a wealth of information on lung cancer and support.