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Lung Cancer Guide photo Understanding The Issues

What can I do to help myself?

Stay active

You will probably need extra rest now, but there is no need to stop doing the things you enjoy as long as you feel able to do them. Take things one day at a time, enjoying life as much as possibe, and sharing it with others. Seeing other people and maintaining a social life are important.

Using your body can make you feel better about yourself, help you get rid of tension or anger, and build your appetite. Ask your doctor or nurse what activities are okay for you to do.

In general, anything you feel well enough to do is all right. This includes everything from light activities (like housework or walking), to sports (like golf), to an active sexual life. You may be able to continue working full- or part-time. If you cannot work, it is important to stay involved in as many other activities as possible.

There are a number of questions in this section you may want to answer for yourself. You can print out a form to write down your answers.

Activities I like to do and how I can change them so they are less tiring:

Exercises my doctor or nurse recommended:

Issues I want to discuss with my employer:

Eat right

It is very important to eat as much as you can while you are having treatment. People who eat well and drink lots of fluids can deal with side effects better and are better able to fight infection. In addition, their bodies can rebuild healthy tissues faster.

Even when you know it's important to eat well, there may be days when you feel you just can't. You may be interested to know that cancer generally decreases appetite. Chemotherapy also affects your appetite because it affects how your food tastes. When your appetite is poor, try these hints:

  • Eat small meals or snacks whenever you want. You don't have to eat three regular meals each day.
  • Vary your diet and try new foods and recipes.
  • When possible, take a walk before meals to make you feel hungrier.
  • Try changing your mealtime routine. For example, eat by candlelight or in a different location.
  • Eat with friends or family members. When eating alone, listen to the radio or watch TV.
  • If you live alone, you might want to arrange for Meals on Wheels or a similar program to bring food to you.
  • Drink as much as you can. Small amounts taken often will help keep enough fluids in your body. You may find popsicles, gelatins, and ice cream good substitutes for other liquids.

Times when I find my appetite is poor:

Times when I find my appetite is better:

Things I will try to do to increase my appetite:

Discuss my feelings

Talking about your feelings with your family, friends, or healthcare team can help you deal with troublesome issues and worries. Some of the important issues you may encounter include loss of income, loss of insurance coverage, progressive weakness and inability to function normally, and death and dying. Many of these may be painful and difficult to talk about, but it is better to discuss your concerns openly and honestly, than to let them build and grow inside of you.

If you would like help in dealing with your feelings, a counselor, therapist, social worker, or clergy member may be available at your hospital or treatment center. Ask your doctor or nurse about what services are available.

It may also help to join a support group of people who are living with cancer. Talking with other people who understand and can relate to many of the same issues you are coping with can be a great help.

Issues I would like to discuss with my family and friends:

Times, locations, and phone numbers for support groups I would like to know more about:

Work with my healthcare team

Your active participation in your treatment is important. Going to all of your treatments and appointments will help your doctors and nurses to carefully manage your care. Be sure to follow the advice of your physicians or nurses to ensure your comfort and to gain the most from your treatment.

We hope that this section has answered some of your questions about nonsmall cell lung cancer. We encourage you to print out the available forms to write down your questions, concerns, and instructions and hope this has assisted you in talking with your healthcare team.

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