Navigating Lung Cancer Navigating Lung Cancer - Page 17
Oncologists are doctors who specialize
in treating cancer. There are three main
Medical oncologists treat cancer
by using medicines, such as
chemotherapy or targeted therapy.
Your medical oncologist may refer you
to other specialists.
• Radiation oncologists use X-rays
and other types of radiation therapy.
• Surgical oncologists use surgery to
diagnose and treat cancer. They can
do biopsies and remove tumors. A
thoracic surgical oncologist specializes
in surgeries on lung tumors and other
tumors found inside the chest.
Diagnostic or interventional
radiologists are doctors who specialize
in diagnosing disease with imaging tests.
These tests include X-ray, MRI, CT scan,
PET scan, and ultrasound. Interventional
radiologists use imaging tests to
guide them in biopsies. A diagnostic
radiologist may specialize in radiation
oncology, diagnosing cancerous growths
specifically. Having a radiologist with
lung cancer experience can improve the
accuracy of your diagnosis.
Your medical team may have some or all
of these health care professionals:
Oncology nurses specialize in treating
and caring for people with cancer. They
are often a major point of contact for
patients and their families.
Patient navigators are trained,
culturally sensitive health care workers.
They provide support and guidance
throughout the cancer care process. They
help people “navigate” through the maze
of: Work history. A complete description
of your jobs is also important, even if
the job was years ago. People with work
exposure to asbestos or other harmful
substances may develop lung cancer long
after the job ends.
• Complete list of your medications,
supplements, and vitamins. Include
all prescription and over-the-counter
medications and supplements. These
include herbal and natural remedies. If
possible, bring the bottles and containers
with you. That way your doctor can see
exactly what you’re taking.
insurance and payment systems
patient-support organizations, and
other parts of the health care system
Respiratory therapists evaluate and
treat people with breathing problems or
other lung disorders.
Social workers talk with people and
their families about emotional or physical
needs. They also help them find support.
Registered dieticians use diet and
nutrition to keep the body healthy. They
help improve nutritional health.
Your medical team will want to know as
much as possible about your:
Before your appointment, gather:
Information about your symptoms.
What symptoms are you having? When
did they start? Have they changed? Have
you noticed new ones? Does anything
relieve your symptoms? Does anything
make them worse?
Your medical history. Have you had
cancer? What kind? What treatment
did you undergo? Your doctor will want
to know about any lung and breathing
problems. If you have medical records at
another doctor’s office, have copies sent
to your lung doctor.
Medical records. Bring all your medical
records, especially any copies of old
chest X-rays. Comparing current and old
films tells the doctor about the likelihood
of lung cancer. These records help your
doctor determine which tests are needed.
If suspicious tissue has been there for
several years without changing, it is
probably not lung cancer.
Family medical history. Has anyone
in your family been diagnosed with lung
cancer? Does anyone in your family have
a history of lung or breathing problems?
Questions. Write down your questions.
You won’t forget to ask them during your
Information about smoking. A
complete description of smoking habits is
very important. Did you ever smoke? If
so, when did you start? How many packs
of cigarettes did you typically smoke in
a day/week? How long did you smoke? If
you quit, when?