10 tips for your teenager to communicate with the lung cancer team

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Update Date 12/05/2020
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Your doctor may have just told you that your teenager has lung cancer. It’s a scary time and you are probably still in shock. One thing you should know is that your teenager is old enough to understand what is going on and will want to be more involved in every decision. It is important to support your teenager and help them communicate with the lung cancer team. Here are 10 tips that can help your teenager and you to communicate:

Encourage your teenager to ask questions

The doctor will likely explain in more detail about lung cancer and the possible treatment options for your teenager. It may make sense to you but if your teenager doesn’t understand what the doctor is saying, encourage them to ask questions. Even the question may be simple. Let your teenager feel in control of his or her health. This will also help you build trust with your teenager. You can also repeat what you understand back to the doctor. This will let your doctor know what you and your teenager really understand and can clarify if needed.

Prepare your teenager for what they might need to talk about

You should work with your teenager to prepare a list of things they might want to know so they can ask the doctor. This way you can let them do the talking during the doctor visit. Like wise, it’s a good idea to prep your teenager for any possible questions from the doctor. You can practice with your teenager about these topics:

  • Telling the doctor and any medical staff about their medical history including current symptoms, their lifestyle and self-care, all within a few minutes so as not to take up too much appointment time.
  • Ask questions about their condition and its effects on all areas of their life.
  • Tell their doctor and medical team about their needs in all areas of their life and how their condition might affect these, i.e. education.

Tell them it’s OK if they don’t remember everything

It can be overwhelming be told you have lung cancer. It’s a lot to take in. It’s natural to not remember every single detail. Especially for teenagers, lung cancer can mean changes in every aspect of their life and your teenager might blank out during the doctor’s visit. You can support your teenager to remember the details and take notes. Be organized by keeping all notes, test results and medical documents in one folder, including any important contact information of the medical team. Bring this folder every time you see the doctor. It can be very helpful.

Make sure that your teenager is prepared for treatment

Your teenager might want to be independent, but they still need your guidance, whether they know it or not. Your guidance can make it easier for them to deal with lung cancer and changes during this tough time. Ask your teenager if they are ready for the treatment and if they know what to expect. Don’t forget to remind them that you are always here to help.

  • Make sure they follow up with referrals and keep the medical team informed about information given in these referrals.
  • Remind them to maintain their diet, exercise, recreation, medication and hygiene.
  • Be more aware of their physical and emotional health symptoms and needs and how to get help for these before they have a serious medical crisis.
  • Develop a plan of action should they need emergency care. This can include information such as when to consult with the doctor, what hospital to report to, what care they want or don’t want.

It is hard to deal with a teenager, and it is even harder when your teenager has lung cancer. But as a parent, we do the best that we can to keep them safe and healthy. While giving your teenager the freedom to work with their lung cancer team, you need to be with them every step of the way for support.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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