Lung cancer is among the most common types of cancer, with 2.09 million cases across the globe each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite its prevalence, a diagnosis of lung cancer can be an isolating experience. This is especially true if you have a rare type, such as:

  • large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • salivary gland-type lung carcinoma
  • lung carcinoids
  • granular cell lung tumors

Finding emotional and lifestyle support can help you maintain your quality of life while undergoing treatment — and may help you feel less alone. Some types of support, like palliative care, can even help improve outcomes for people with lung cancer.

Keep reading to learn more about finding support when you have a rare lung cancer.

Lung cancer affects more than just your body — it can have an emotional impact as well.

Anxiety, depression, and feelings of distress are among the mental health states that people with cancer may experience over the course of their disease.

It’s never too early to seek support for having a rare lung cancer. According to a 2017 review, some benefits of joining a support group include:

  • connecting with people going through a similar experience
  • learning more about the cancer and potential treatments
  • receiving emotional support and giving emotional support to others
  • having a safe space where you can speak openly about your disease
  • learning trusted ways to cope with symptoms and side effects of treatment
  • developing feelings of empowerment and optimism

There are many resources available that may provide support to people with rare lung cancer. The following are a few options to consider.

Having a rare lung cancer can make you feel a variety of emotions. Meeting with a mental health professional can give you the opportunity to express these complex feelings without judgment.

They can also help you navigate other matters, including:

  • relationship issues
  • workplace concerns
  • adjustments in your routine
  • questions about intimacy

Appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, or other mental health professionals are typically offered as one-on-one sessions, either in person or virtually. They may take place in a hospital, healthcare center, or private office.

You may wish to seek care from provider who specializes in working with people who have cancer, such as an oncology social worker.

They have an additional level of understanding about what you may be going through. They can also serve as an important link between you and your medical team.

You may be able to find a mental health professional in your area through your health insurance company or get a referral from your primary care physician.

CancerCare also offers a toll-free helpline to assist people with cancer in finding local counseling services.

Support groups can provide a range of benefits after you’re diagnosed with a rare lung cancer.

They give you the chance to connect with other people who have the disease and talk about what you’re going through. Ultimately, they can help you feel less alone.

There are a variety of ways that cancer support groups gather. They typically meet on a regular basis, such as every week or once per month. Some are led by professionals in person, while other arrangements are less formal.

There’s also the option of joining an online support group. Meeting digitally gives you the option to tap into the community whenever and wherever is most convenient for you.

You may be able to find a rare lung cancer support group through the American Cancer Society, Foundation for Lung Cancer, or American Lung Association.

Your pet can be a reliable source of support when you’re coping with a rare lung cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bonding with an animal can:

  • reduce your feelings of stress
  • boost your happiness
  • curb feelings of loneliness

Simply petting a dog or cat can also release certain hormones, like serotonin and oxytocin, that can improve your mood.

Keep in mind that it can be challenging to care for a pet while you’re undergoing treatment for lung cancer. You may need to rely on family, friends, neighbors, and pet sitters to help with things like walking, feeding, and bathing your animal companion.

If you don’t have a pet, your medical care team or cancer treatment center may be able to connect you with pet therapy services in your area.

Treatment for lung cancer can cause a range of side effects — like fatigue, nausea, stress, and anxiety — that make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks. Lifestyle support services can offer some relief, giving you more time for rest and self-care.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Car services. Letting someone else navigate traffic can make your rides to and from your doctor’s appointments a little easier. Consider using a rideshare app, calling a taxi service, or asking a loved one for a lift. Some groups, such as the American Cancer Society, can also help coordinate transportation. (Note that some of these services may be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
  • Food services. Maintaining a healthy diet can help you feel better and fight infections when you have lung cancer. Working with a nutritionist can take the guesswork out of meal planning. You could also order groceries or ready-made meals delivered to your home to avoid trips to the store.
  • Homemaker or attendant care. If you’re not feeling up to household tasks, a homemaker or attendant care professional can help. They can handle things like laundry, housekeeping, meal prep, and shopping.
  • Home health aides. A home health aide provides assistance with basic grooming and personal care, such as getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing.

Palliative care is a tool used to help people with serious diseases, like rare lung cancers, find relief from symptoms, pain, and stress. It’s not a treatment for the disease itself, but rather a complementary service aimed at improving your quality of life.

Palliative care is usually offered by teams of providers including:

  • doctors and nurses who specialize in palliative care
  • mental health professionals
  • pain management specialists
  • social workers
  • nutritionists
  • pharmacists

They work together to address your various physical, emotional, social, and other needs. They also coordinate with your oncologist and cancer care team to help keep you as comfortable as possible.

You can get palliative care at any point after diagnosis, no matter what stage your cancer is in. It may be offered in your home or at the hospital.

To find palliative care in your area, ask your doctor for a referral. You can also research other options through the Center to Advance Palliative Care provider directory and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization care finder tool.

Other types of support, such as palliative care, can help you:

  • manage symptoms
  • better understand your treatment options
  • improve your outlook

Getting diagnosed with a rare lung cancer and undergoing treatment can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience — but you don’t have to go through it alone.

Support groups, counseling, and even pet therapy can help you find strength and manage your condition. Lifestyle support services, like the care of a home health aide, may also make it a little easier.

Different types of support are available to help you reduce stress, ease symptoms, and improve your quality of life. Talk with your doctor about which options may be right for you.