Questions to Ask Your Oncologist If You Have Lung Cancer

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Where is my disease located? Which is the genetic makeup of the tumor? How do I manage my symptoms? These are all important questions that lung cancer patients should ask to their doctor when they are diagnosed. Professor Charles Swanton, lung cancer specialist at Francis Crick Institute in London, provides a useful list of points that patients should bring up at their doctor's appointment.  

This interview was recorded at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress held in Madrid (September 2017). Lung cancer videos recorded at ESMO 17 are part of an educational program by the Patient Empowerment Foundation. We thank AstraZeneca for their support.

 

 

 

 

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Dr. Swanton:

So questions that I'd ask if I had lung cancer is I mean I would want to know where my disease is.  Is it confined to the lung?  Is it in the liver or the bone or the brain?  That's very important. 

Symptom control, how am I going to access symptom control?  Who is going to provide symptom control in the community when I'm not coming to clinic?  I think it's important to have—in the UK we call them Mavilla nurses, palliative care nurses who you're linked up with, who can help come and visit you during the week to make sure you're not in any pain, and if you are to monitor your pain medication, your pain control. 

Obviously, the genetic makeup of the tumor, as we just discussed, is very important, too, and you need to have those results up front to be able to understand what the best therapy is. 

And I think, you know, obviously developing a close relationship with your clinician is very important.  In an ideal world, you'd want to see the same clinician every time you come to the visits, the hospital or certainly the same team.  And to get an understanding for how often you're going to be coming to hospital but also the likelihood of toxicity from the drugs that you're being offered. 

And sometimes a diagnosis of cancer can be so overwhelming that it can be very difficult to take all of this information in, and I would be—you know, I'd really advocate taking time with your doctor to—once you've got to grips with the diagnosis to really go through very carefully what the side effects of therapy might be.  So you have a much better idea what to look out for, what might be drug-related, what might be cancer-related, which will help both you as the patient and the doctor manage your disease much more effectively.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on October 23, 2017