Advanced Lung Cancer
Advanced cancer means that your cancer has spread from the area where it started. If it has spread to the area around the lung, it is called local spread. It can also spread to other areas of the body including the bones and brain. This is called secondary cancer or metastatic cancer. It is usually not possible to cure advanced cancer. The most common areas for lung cancer to spread to are:
- nearby lymph nodes
- the brain
- the liver
- the adrenal glands (small hormone glands just above your kidney)
- other parts of the lung or the other lung
Treatment is given to control the cancer and to improve your quality of life. This can be done for a long time. Treatments can involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biological therapy.
Coping with Advanced cancer
Finding out that you have an advanced cancer can be a shock. It’s common to feel uncertain and anxious, however, it can help to find out more about your cancer and the treatments you might have. Many people find that knowing more about their situation can make it easier to cope. It is important to remember that there is a lot of information and support available to you and your family and friends.
Talk to your specialist to understand:
- what your diagnosis means
- what is likely to happen
- what treatment is available
- how treatment can help you
You may also be seen by the palliative care team at this time. This team are there to help with any symptoms you have and to support you and your family throughout your treatment. Palliative care is a free service for all patients with advanced cancer. You do not need medical insurance. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when their cancer can no longer be cured. As well as providing relief from pain, nausea and other symptoms, palliative care offers support and comfort to patients and their families. For more information on palliative care, see this short video from the Irish Association for Palliative Care.