LUNG Cancer

It is important to understand that if you undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you will not necessarily have all (or any) side effects. Some people have only a few or no side effects; others have many of them. It varies from person to person, just as the lung cancer symptoms themselves vary. The two things that will have the largest impact on your side effects are the treatment doses you receive and the ways your body reacts to them.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

Some side effects of cancer treatment are difficult to control. When chemotherapy or radiation is used to remove or destroy cancer cells, some healthy cells and tissues can be affected. However, there are ways to minimize the side effects of treatment. The key to dealing with side effects is to:

* Watch for warning signs (fever, swelling, etc)
* Tell your doctor
* Take action quickly

For information about coping with side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments including hair loss, pain, nausea and loss of appetite, click here

Fatigue

Fatigue, a temporary condition for most people that occurs after strenuous activity, is a common medical condition for cancer patients. If you have lung cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy, your fatigue may be chronic- that is it won't go away. Fatigue can severely affect your health and limit your activity.

Signs of fatigue include:
* Exhaustion
* Leg pain
* Difficulty climbing stairs or walking short distances
* Shortness of breath after light activity
* Difficulty concentrating
* Losing patience easily
* Weakness
* Losing interest in hobbies or pastimes

Fatigue is a medical condition and that should be reported to your doctor.

Pain

Not everyone experiences cancer pain, however for those who do, there are many ways to treat it. Pain can be caused from cancer treatments or the cancer itself. Today, there is no reason that cancer pain should go untreated or ignored. Early treatment of pain is almost always more effective than waiting until the pain is severe or unbearable. If left unattended, cancer pain can lead to disruption in a person's ability to work, their relationships, and their view of the world. Above all, under-and untreated cancer pain can lead to unnecessary suffering and despair.

Nausea and Upset Stomach

For reasons we don't fully understand, cancer affects a person's metabolism. Eating well, therefore, is an important challenge for people with any type of cancer. Proper nutrition (getting enough calories and protein to prevent weight loss and regain your strength) will make a big difference in your quality of life and outlook during the course of your disease. It is critical that you eat as much as you can during treatment and drinks lots of fluids. Cancer patients who eat and drink well are better able to fight infection and will also handle side effects better. Their bodies will rebuild healthy tissue faster as well.

The disease and treatments will sometimes make you feel as though you don't want to eat. Cancer generally decreases appetite. So does chemotherapy, because it changes the taste of many foods in your mouth. Nausea that may occur with treatment also will affect your appetite.