First 7 steps in the face of a lung cancer diagnosis

The First 7 Steps

Take these steps in your lung cancer journey

Download a printable version of The First 7 Steps and get access to the First 7 Steps Resource Library to start creating your action plan through your personalized lung cancer journey.

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Step 1

STEP 1: Slow down

Slow down. We know you want to start treatment right away but what is most important is to get the right diagnosis, for the right treatment at the right time for you.

Step 2

STEP 2: Get biomarker testing

Get biomarker testing to find out if your type of lung cancer has a targeted therapy available. Unless you are experiencing severe symptoms that need immediate attention,  do not start treatment until you have received the results of comprehensive biomarker testing. Request copies of your pathology report, scan reports, labs, scan files, and other diagnostic records so you will have them if needed for future reference.

Step 3

STEP 3: Find a lung cancer specialist

Find a lung cancer specialist (such as a thoracic oncologist or thoracic surgeon) and make an appointment to discuss diagnosis and treatment plans. Develop a list of questions before you go. Bring a family member or trusted friend who can help you take good notes and ask questions you may have overlooked.

Step 4

STEP 4: Get a second opinion

Get a second opinion. Look for a comprehensive cancer center that may be at an academic medical institution. Ask what records they need, and send them ahead of time.

Step 5

STEP 5: Learn as much you can

Learn as much you can about your biomarker (if you have one), options for lung cancer treatments, and support available from lung cancer groups through reputable sites online like

Step 6

STEP 6: Work with your health care team

Work with your health care team to create a customized treatment plan designed specifically for you. This might include participating in a clinical trial.

Step 7

STEP 7: Build a network of support

Build a network of support with family members, friends, community members, and fellow advocates living with lung cancer.

Although these 7 steps for your lung cancer diagnosis are introduced in The First 7 Days podcast series, these 7 steps are to guide you at YOUR pace along YOUR personalized treatment plan – not a feat to be accomplished in 7 days.