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Lung Cancer (cont.)

Home Treatment

During treatment for any stage of lung cancer, you can manage some side effects that may accompany lung cancer or cancer treatment. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat these symptoms, be sure to follow them. In general, healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly may help control your symptoms.

Home treatment may help relieve some common side effects of cancer treatment.

Other issues that may arise include:

  • Hair loss. You may be concerned about losing your hair from cancer treatment. Not all chemotherapy medicines cause hair loss, and some people have only mild thinning that is noticeable only to them. Talk to your doctor about whether hair loss is an expected side effect of the medicines you will receive.
  • Sleep problems. If you find you have trouble sleeping, having a regular bedtime, doing some exercise during the day, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and taking other steps to relieve sleep problems may help you sleep more easily.
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating. Eating several small meals throughout the day or eating soft, bland foods may help if you do not have an appetite or if certain foods are difficult to eat.
  • Mouth sores (stomatitis) can be a side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs. There are ways you can reduce your discomfort:
    • Drink cold liquids, such as water or iced tea, or eat flavored ice treats or frozen juices.
    • Eat foods that are easy to swallow such as gelatin, ice cream, or custard.
    • Drink from a straw.
    • Rinse your mouth several times a day with a warm saltwater solution. You can make the saltwater mixture with 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in 8 fl oz (0.2 L) of warm water.
    • Do not eat or drink acidic foods, such as tomatoes or oranges.
    • See other home treatments for a sore mouth.
  • Coughing. You may have an ongoing cough or develop a severe cough. Your doctor can recommend some nonprescription cough medicines or prescribe some medicines to help relieve your symptoms.

Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. If pain occurs, many treatments are available to relieve it. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat pain, be sure to follow them. You may use home treatment for pain to improve your physical and mental well-being. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any home treatment you use for pain.

If your disease is at an advanced stage, you may choose not to have treatment because the time, costs, and side effects of treatment may be greater than the benefits. Making the decision about when to stop medical treatment aimed at prolonging life and shift the focus to end-of-life care can be difficult. For more information, see the topics:

Hospice Care.
Care at the End of Life.
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