Comprehensive symptom management in patients with advanced-stage non-small-cell lung cancer

Clin Lung Cancer. 2006 Jan;7(4):241-9. doi: 10.3816/CLC.2006.n.001.


Although we have made steady improvements in the survival rates of patients with advanced-stage lung cancer, the majority of patients still experience distress and suffering. Although the symptom burden is greatest in patients in the end stages of life, many patients living with lung cancer suffer from troubling symptoms and side effects of therapy. Even long-term survivors with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) often experience respiratory symptoms, such as dyspnea and cough. Because of the high prevalence of NSCLC and the frequency with which it presents in an incurable stage, symptom management is a large component of the care of these patients. Dyspnea, cough, fatigue, anorexia/cachexia, and pain are the most common symptoms in patients with advanced-stage NSCLC. Cancer-directed therapy can improve some of these symptoms but often incompletely and temporarily. Therefore, comprehensive care of patients with advanced-stage NSCLC must include therapies targeted at these difficult and distressing symptoms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cachexia / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fatigue / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Palliative Care*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / drug therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors