Your Sylvester team is here to support you for a lifetime – from diagnosis and treatment through survivorship. Our goal is to prevent cancer recurrence and help you live an active, fulfilling life. We offer a variety of supportive services, including help to quit smoking and nutritional guidance. In addition, we give you personal attention and care to enrich your health and well-being.
When you’ve finished treatment for lung cancer, it’s essential to see your doctor for follow-up appointments – part of your survivorship care. These checkups ensure you’re healing well and that cancer hasn’t returned. Although your first exam may show no signs of cancer, lung cancer is more likely to recur within the first two years after treatment.
Your follow-up visits include a physical exam and imaging tests, such as a CT scan, that let your doctor find cancer early if it does return. Appointments also give you a chance to ask questions and tell your doctor about any changes or side effects you’re experiencing.
Managing lung cancer side effects
Lung cancer can cause temporary or long-term side effects. Your Sylvester care team is dedicated to helping you enjoy a healthy, active life after lung cancer treatment. We give you personal attention and support to manage side effects and let you feel your best.
Shortness of breath
Almost all lung cancer survivors experience shortness of breath – it’s more severe if you had many tumors or a large tumor in your lungs. You may work with a lung specialist (pulmonologist) or a physical therapist to help you breathe easier.
Your treatment may include:
- Inhaler medicines to relieve shortness of breath
- Exercises rebuild your endurance gradually and safely
- Breathing exercises to strengthen your lungs
- Nutrition therapy to prevent weight loss and acid reflux
Over time, your shortness of breath should go away. If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema, the shortness of breath may continue. Your pulmonologist can provide ongoing care to help improve your symptoms.
Radiation therapy side effects
Thanks to advanced, targeted radiation therapy, few people with lung cancer have radiation side effects. Temporary symptoms may include:
- Dry skin
- Esophagitis (swelling of the esophagus)
- Pain when swallowing
Surgery side effects
After lung cancer surgery, some survivors experience nerve pain (neuropathy) in their chest – but it’s rare. Typically, it’s more of a tingling or numbness sensation than severe pain. There isn’t a cure for neuropathy, but medicines can relieve symptoms.
Psychosocial side effects
Fighting cancer can be physically and mentally exhausting. It can be challenging to get back to your life and daily routine once you’ve finished treatment. Sylvester cancer support groups can help. They let you connect with other survivors and current patients who understand your experience. You can share your feelings and get advice and encouragement from others in a safe, compassionate environment.
If you’d like added support, our mental health experts specialize in caring for cancer survivors. You can receive personal attention and guidance to improve your emotional well-being.
Smoking during or after your cancer treatment affects your body’s ability to heal and increases the risk of complications after cancer surgery. It can make your treatment less effective and increase your risk for cancer treatment side effects and cancer recurrence.
At the University of Miami Health System, our BeSmokeFree program offers comprehensive support to help you stop smoking – for good. This free program is held four times weekly to make it easier to fit into busy schedules. Sessions cover strategies to quit smoking and let you hear the experiences of former smokers who’ve stopped.