Health awareness

Taking on lung cancer is worth the fight

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, and more than 4,000 people die of the disease every day.

September 18, 2020

Share this article

article hero thumbnail

Starting the fight

Combined with a sense of stigma and shame associated with the disease, advanced lung cancer patients may feel scared and without options. It’s important to know that all patients are worthy of compassion and support from loved ones, health care providers and the wider cancer community.

Lung cancer stigma can lead a patient to:

Delay or refuse treatment

Avoid telling others about their diagnosis

Hesitate to reach out for help

Despite how common lung cancer is, there are still many misconceptions about the disease. While smoking is a leading cause, there are a number of other risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer.

Having accurate information is a critical first step in the fight and understanding your diagnosis:

  • Worldwide, it is estimated that approximately 25% of lung cancer patients never smoked
  • External factors can lead to increased risk of lung cancer, including exposure to radon, asbestos and air pollution.
  • While lung cancer is mostly diagnosed in older people it can still occur in younger adults.
  • People diagnosed with lung cancer may experience similar kinds of challenges as anyone who learns they have cancer.
Magnify illustration

Many people think a lung cancer diagnosis is a death sentence. However, over the past decade, new advancements have been made, which have led to more survivors and more hope for those facing the disease.

How to fight

Finding out you have advanced lung cancer is stressful and it can be hard to absorb all of the information shared. Conversations with your health care team can feel like a blur, but it’s important to have effective conversations with your doctor shortly after being diagnosed to understand your disease and next steps.

Take an active role in your health care by:

  • Learning about your cancer online or in the library and by talking to your doctor
  • Asking for a second opinion
  • Joining a cancer support group or speaking to others who have been through a similar experience
good communication

Here are three helpful tips:

1

Jot down a list of questions to ask your doctor or use the downloadable discussion guide below before appointments.

2

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re unsure or don’t understand something your doctor or nurse says.

3

Bring someone for support. They can listen and take notes when you speak with your health care team.

Why we fight

Over the past decade, great strides have been made in advanced lung cancer care, leading to more survivors and a sense of hope for those facing the disease. Everyone’s reason to fight is unique, but it’s important to know.

Support for the fight

Navigating a lung cancer diagnosis can take a village. It’s important to build a circle of support that includes the oncologist and health care teams, family, friends and local patient support groups.

Connecting with others can provide a sense of support and comfort to help patients through everything that goes into managing this disease. For additional support, educational information and resources about lung cancer, please visit:

Worth the Fight: Taking on Lung Cancer is a U.S.-based collaboration between MSD and GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer.