There are many challenges that come with a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It’s normal to experience a range of emotions while coping with day-to-day life with lung cancer.
If you find that you’re in need of both practical and emotional support, you’re not alone.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can find the support you need when you have NSCLC.
Learning about progressive NSCLC and how it’s typically treated can give you a better idea of what to expect. While your oncologist will provide you with vital information, it helps to do a little research on your own to broaden your understanding.
Ask your oncologist what websites, publications, or organizations provide reliable information. When searching online, note the source and make sure it’s a credible one.
Oncologists generally oversee and coordinate your care, with an eye on quality of life. With that in mind, you can feel free to talk to them about your emotional well-being, too. They can adjust treatments and make recommendations to specialists when necessary.
Some other doctors you might see are:
- home care professionals
- mental health therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist
- oncology nurses
- palliative care specialist
- patient navigators, caseworkers
- physical therapist
- radiation oncologist
- respiratory therapist
- social workers
- thoracic oncologist
To build the best healthcare team, look for referrals from your:
- primary care physician
- health insurance network
Remember that you always have the option of picking someone else. When choosing members of your healthcare team, make sure they share information and coordinate care with your oncologist.
No matter what responsibilities you bear for others, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first right now. Take some time to think about what you need today, and what you’ll likely need throughout your treatment journey.
Get in touch with your emotional needs. You don’t have to mask your feelings for the sake of others. Your feelings, whatever they are, are legitimate.
You may not be able to easily sort out your feelings. Some people find that journaling, music, and art can help in that respect.
When you’re receiving treatment for progressive NSCLC, there are going to be some changes in your day-to-day life. You might need some assistance with certain things, such as:
- child care
- filling prescriptions
- general errands
- meal preparation
Your family and friends can help, but there may be times you need additional assistance. These organizations may be able to offer assistance:
- The American Cancer Society offers a searchable database for patient lodging, rides to treatment, patient navigators, online communities and support, and more.
- CancerCare’s A Helping Hand can help you find assistance from organizations providing financial or practical help.
Talk to the people closest to you. Your loved ones want to support you, but they might not know what to say or do. It’s OK for you to break the ice and share your feelings. Once you get the conversation started, they’ll likely find it easier to talk.
Whether it’s a friendly shoulder to lean on or a ride to treatment, tell them what they can do to help.
Many people find comfort in support groups because you can share with people who are in the same or similar situation. They have firsthand experience, and you can help others as well.
You can ask your oncologist or treatment center for information on support groups in your community. Here are a few other places to check out:
You can also seek individual counseling if that’s more suitable to you. Ask your oncologist to refer you to a mental health professional, such as:
- oncology social worker
Health insurance policies can be complex. Your oncologist’s office may have a staff member to help with financial matters and navigating health insurance. If they do, take advantage of this help.
Other sources of information are:
Organizations that help with prescription costs include:
- CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation
- Medicine Assistance Tool
- Patient Access Network (PAN)
- Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program
You may also be entitled to benefits from:
The bottom line is that progressive NSCLC is not an easy road. No one would expect you to handle everything without help.
Your oncology team understands this, so open up about what you’re going through. Ask for assistance and reach out for support. You don’t have to face this alone.