Information for the public

Lung cancer: the care you should expect

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, with over 46,000 people diagnosed in 2015. It causes symptoms like a persistent cough, coughing up blood, and feeling short of breath. People may not get symptoms in the early stages, and because of this lung cancer is often diagnosed late. In recent years, better tests and treatments are starting to make a difference and can mean a better outlook for many people.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people with lung cancer by making sure:

  • doctors know the best ways to diagnose lung cancer quickly and accurately
  • you’re offered the right tests and scans to get the best information about the type and stage of cancer – this will help in planning your treatment
  • your care team explains the treatments, or combinations of treatments, that are likely to work best and help you decide what’s right for you.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?
  • How will the treatment affect your day-to-day life?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have treatment?

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your healthcare professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.  

Where can I find out more?

The NHS website has more information about lung cancer.  

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

To share an experience of care you have received, contact your local Healthwatch.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by cancer and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-3308-2


This page was last updated: 28 March 2019