10 Critical Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Lung Cancer
There are few people who enjoy visiting the doctor. There are even fewer who enjoy going to the doctor to discuss lung cancer.
However, if you have any reason to believe that you may be at risk for lung cancer, or are experiencing any of the signs for lung cancer, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. As intimidating as it can be, it could save your life.
To help make your doctor’s visit go smoothly, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 questions to ask your doctor about your risk for lung cancer, signs for lung cancer and EarlyCDT-Lung, the blood test to aid in early lung cancer detection.
- Am I at an increased risk for lung cancer? Why or why not?
It’s best to start with a simple question, to get the conversation started. If you would like to learn more about your personal lung cancer risk, please take our Free Lung Cancer Risk Assessment. You may also want to print out your assessment, and take it with you on your doctor's visit. Your physician may ask you personal questions about your smoking, work or family history to better assess your risk.
- Are there ways that I can decrease my risk for lung cancer?
If you are able to do anything to decrease your lung cancer risk, it is important to do so. Often this will involve quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke or steering clear of other environmental lung cancer risk factors.
- Common lung cancer signs or lung cancer symptoms include: Cough, shortness of breath, spitting blood, pneumonia, fluid in the lungs, chest pain, bone and joint pain, and change in the voice. In the past few months, I have experienced _______________. Is this cause for concern?
If you are experiencing any of the common lung cancer signs or symptoms, it is important to let your doctor know about them. Even if the symptoms may seem small or unspecific, telling your doctor about them will make it easier for him or her to assess you.
- The test requires a blood draw — Can we do that in the office, or would you send me to a draw station?
EarlyCDT-Lung is a blood test, which requires a routine blood draw. Your physician may or may not be able to do this in the office, but since all physicians have the ability to order blood tests, if your physician is not able to draw the blood in his or her office, ask how the blood draw is done.
- If I’m at an increased risk for lung cancer, isn’t early detection the best option?
According to NCI data, if the lung cancer is found in its earliest stages, the 5-year survival rate more than triples from 16% to 53%. It’s not enough, but it is a sizeable improvement over the current 1 in 6 survival rate.
- What are the benefits of finding lung disease early?
Unfortunately, 85% of lung cancer is found symptomatically, which is typically late stage cancer. When lung cancer is found in the latest stages, the 5 year survival rate can be as low as 4%, with 50% of cases perishing in the 1st year. But, as mentioned earlier, if caught early, you can triple the 5 year survival rate.
- What, in general, are your feelings about early cancer detection?
It is important to know where your physician stands on important issues, such as early cancer detection and newly available cancer technologies.
- What would the next steps be if the test came back positive? If the test came back negative?
Should a test come back positive, a member of Oncimmune’s medical staff will contact your doctor and answer any questions he or she may have about the test or the result. Additionally, should your doctor have any questions about a negative result, members of Oncimmune’s clinical staff are readily available to answer those as well. You may also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about test results.
- Would you be interested in receiving more material on or publications about EarlyCDT-Lung?
Since EarlyCDT-Lung has only been available since 2009, it is possible that your doctor may not be aware of the test yet. If your clinician has any questions about EarlyCDT-Lung, its validation studies, its usage or anything else relating to the test, he or she can call 1-888-583-9030 to talk to one of our representatives. Additionally, when you receive your free test kit in the mail, included will be a blue physician booklet, featuring all of the scientific information about the test, as well as various articles and case studies. Please give this to your physician upon your visit, to ensure that he or she has access to all of the information needed.
- If I want to take the test and feel that I am at risk for lung cancer, will you support that decision?
It is important to know that you and your physician are on the same page regarding the test. If either one of you have any issues or questions, please call 1-888-583-9030, and we will assist you.
To download a .pdf copy of these questions to print and take with you on your next doctor’s visit, please click here.
To learn more about EarlyCDT-Lung, click here or call their Client Services team at 1-888-583-9030.
If you think you or a loved one may be at risk for lung cancer, visit our lung cancer risk assessment to see if you are at an increased risk for the deadly disease.
If you would like to submit yourself or a loved one to the Awareness Wall, honoring lung cancer survivors and those lost to the disease, please click here.