PatientsLikeMe members have talked in the forums about what it’s like to recover from lung cancer surgery – and what most doctors don’t tell you. We’ve gathered some helpful post-surgery hints members have shared. (Hint: Join PatientsLikeMe for access to the Lung Cancer Forum.)
Many members have mentioned that the side effects of a lobectomy or other lung surgery can be more intense than they expected. “I had a right upper lobectomy 2 years ago – still have lots of pain and numbness – bras suck!” one member says.
“The surgeon wasn’t very informative and my doctor, bless his heart, hasn’t ever had a patient like me so doesn’t really know what’s normal and what’s not,” says another member. “I’m very thankful for this site, I have learned a lot from it.”
What can help?
- Finding the right bra. Wear a looser sports bra, an old bra (without underwire) or a stretchy camisole with soft cups, to give some breast support but nothing too restrictive.
- Setting yourself up for sleep. Stomach sleepers will need to get used to sleeping on their back or (maybe) side. Sleeping in a recliner, or using pillows or foam wedges to find a decent position in bed, can help you catch some Zzzs.
- Treating your incision with care. Cold or rainy weather, and even chilly air-conditioning, can make scars extra sensitive, so try to stay warm and dry. One member advises applying vitamin E and unscented skin cream to help with healing.
- Managing your pain. Members report using prescribed pain meds, Lidocaine patches, pain-relief ointment (like Icy Hot) and heating pads to deal with some of the pain.
- Taking it easy. Go “very slow in the beginning,” says one member. “Resting on your back a lot, taking short and slow walks, not twisting the body, not carrying (heavy) things, not running, taking the stairs slowly… With these things, I was OK eight months after my operation. But I’m still very careful…”
Another word to the wise? Ask your doctor right away about any symptoms you’re not sure are normal, such as breathing issues, coughing or bleeding.
On PatientsLikeMe, more than 50 people have reported having surgery as part of their lung cancer treatment. Lung lobectomy is the most commonly reported type of surgery, followed by pneumonectomy and lung wedge resection (click on these links to see treatment reports — logged-in members have access to more information).
Also, check out our recent write-up on some newer and less invasive procedures for lung cancer.
Have you had lung cancer surgery or will you be undergoing this procedure soon? Join our patient community or log in to see what else members have shared about recovering from lung cancer surgery.
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- Filed Under: Cancer, Conditions
- Tags: cancer treatments, lobectomy, lung cancer, lung cancer surgery, lung wedge resection, pain management, patient tips, recovery, surgery, Vitamin E
In case you missed it, check out this round up of some of the stories making headlines in June…
- Apple Watch will now be able to monitor PD: Tech developers announced this month that the Apple Watch will now be able to track two common PD symptoms — tremors and dyskinesia — and map them out in graphs to help doctors (and patients) with PD monitoring. Fill me in.
- Study points to an “overlooked driver” of PD — Bacteriophages: What are bacteriophages or “phages”? Viruses that infect bacteria. New research shows that people with PD may have an overabundance of phages that kill “good” bacteria in the microbiome or gut, which could mean a new target for treating PD. More on the study.
- How common are cognitive issues with lupus? Very. A doctor specializing in lupus research says nearly 40% of people with SLE have some level of cognitive impairment, such as trouble with attention, recall and concentration — so doctors should monitor it early and often. Read his Q&A.
- Drug may replace chemo as initial treatment for many with NSCLC: New clinical trial results of the immunotherapy drug Keytruda show that it can be a more effective first treatment than chemotherapy for many patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — even those with low levels of the PD-L1 gene mutation. Tell me more.
- VETS Act expands access to telehealth: Late last month, Congress passed the VETS Act, expanding access to telehealth for more than 20 million veterans, including 30,000 living with MS. Get the full story.
- Now enrolling: Nationwide clinical trial: Researchers at John’s Hopkins University are seeking newly diagnosed or untreated patients living with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) to participate in a study to help inform treatment decisions. Learn more.
- Practices for overcoming trauma: Results from a new study found that women who combined meditation with aerobic exercise had far fewer trauma-related thoughts, and saw an uptick in feelings of self worth. Get the full story
- When antidepressants won’t work: “I knew it wasn’t going to be a magical Cinderella transformation, but I definitely feel like a newer person.” Read one man’s experience with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) after first-line treatments didn’t work. More info.
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- Filed Under: Bipolar disorder, Cancer, Conditions, Depression, Lupus, Mental Health, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Patient Experiences, PTSD
- Tags: active clinical trials, apple watch, clinical trial, cognitive impairment, immunotherapy, lung cancer, lupus community, mental health community, multiple sclerosis, new study, Parkinson's Community, PD symptoms, Telehealth