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Side Effects of Lung Cancer Treatment

Because treatment for lung cancer may damage healthy cells and tissues, unwanted side effects are common. Specific side effects depend on many factors, including the type and extent of the lung cancer treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, healthcare providers will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to manage them.

Nutrition During Treatment

People with lung cancer need to eat well during treatment. They need enough calories to maintain a good weight and protein to keep up strength. Good "lung cancer nutrition" often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy.
But eating well can be difficult. Patients may not feel like eating if they are uncomfortable or tired. Also, the side effects of treatment, such as poor appetite, nausea, or vomiting, can be a problem. Foods may taste different. Nevertheless, patients should try to eat enough calories and protein to control weight loss, maintain strength, and promote healing. Also, eating well often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy. The doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare provider can suggest ways to maintain a healthy diet.
Careful planning and checkups are important. Lung cancer and its treatment may make it hard for patients to digest food and maintain their weight. The doctor will check the patient for weight loss, weakness, and lack of energy.

Lung Cancer Treatment: Potential Benefits of Clinical Trials

Lung cancer can very hard to control with standard treatments. For that reason, many doctors encourage patients with lung cancer to consider taking part in a clinical trial. These lung cancer research trials are meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with lung cancer. When clinical trials show that a new lung cancer treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new lung cancer treatment may become the standard treatment. Clinical trials are an important option for people with all stages of lung cancer.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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