Questions to ask about lung cancer treatment

A lightbulb all lit up
  1. What type of lung cancer do I have? Non-small cell (NSCLC)— adenocarcinoma, squamous cell, large cell? Small cell (SCLC)? (The type of cancer will determine the types of treatment you will receive.)
  2. What is the stage of my lung cancer? (The stage of cancer will also determine the types of treatment available.)
  3. If my cancer has metastasized, where are the metastases located?
  4. If it is advanced non-small cell lung cancer, has a sample of my tumor been sent for comprehensive biomarker testing? If my tumor is an adenocarcinoma, what are the results for ALK, BRAF, EGFR, MET, NTRK, RET, ROS1, HER2, KRAS, and MEK1? Does my cancer express PD-L1? What do the results mean for me?
  5. How does my current health affect my treatment options? (i.e., age, other medical conditions)
  6. What is the goal of my treatment? A cure? To stop or slow the cancer’s growth?
  7. Which treatments do you recommend and why?
  8. What are the benefits of these treatments?
  9. What are the risks of the recommended treatments?
  10. What side effects might I expect? How can I prepare for them? (By preparing for common side effects before starting treatment, you can improve your quality of life and stay on course throughout your treatment schedule.)
  11. Are there other treatments besides the ones you recommended? 
  12. How will treatment affect my quality of life? What will it involve in terms of time and travel? (e.g., required clinic visits to receive treatments, monitoring blood counts, restricted activity, hospitalization, etc.)
  13. How likely is it that this treatment will work for me?
  14. Is surgery an option? (i.e., can the tumor be removed?)
  15. Will I have chemotherapy before or after surgery?
  16. Will I have radiation before or after surgery?
  17. What kind of radiation?
  18. What is the name of the chemotherapy I might receive?
  19. Will I have immunotherapy? What kind?
  20. Am I a candidate for targeted therapy? What kind?
  21. Am I eligible for any clinical trials? Where can I learn more about clinical trials?
  22. Will I be given any combination treatments (from above)?
  23. How and when will you determine if the treatment is working?
  24. Are there other resources that can help me during this time?
  25. How much will this treatment cost me? Is there a financial counselor I could talk to? Is there a treatment that is just as effective but that costs less?


Learn More About Biomarkers

Our Lung Cancer Biomarker Tool can help you understand what test you should get and what the results mean for your treatment.

Get Started