5 Lung Cancer Nursing Care Plans


Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in men and women. Lung cancer is the carcinoma of the lungs characterized by uncontrolled growth of tissues of the lung. It usually develops within the wall or epithelium of the bronchial tree. Its most common types are epidermoid (squamous cell) carcinoma, small cell (oat cell) carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell (anaplastic) carcinoma. Although the prognosis is usually poor, it varies with the extent of metastasis at the time of diagnosis and the cell type growth rate. Only about 13% of patients with lung cancer survive 5 years after diagnosis.

Lung cancer is mostly attributable to inhalation of carcinogenic pollutants by a susceptible host. Any smoker older than 40, especially if the person began to smoke before age 15, has smoked a whole pack or more per day for 20 years, or works with or near asbestos. Pollutants in tobacco smoke cause progressive lung cell degeneration. Lung cancer is 10 times more common in smokers than in nonsmokers. Cancer risk is determined by the number of cigarettes smoked daily, the depth of inhalation, how early in life smoking began, and the nicotine content of cigarettes.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care for patients with lung cancer revolves around comprehensive supportive care and patient teaching can minimize complications and speed recovery from surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Here are five (5) lung cancer nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis:

  1. Impaired Gas Exchange
  2. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  3. Acute Pain
  4. Fear/Anxiety
  5. Deficient Knowledge
  6. Other Nursing Diagnoses


Nursing Diagnosis

  • Anxiety
  • Fear

May be related to

  • Situational crises
  • Threat to/change in health status
  • Perceived threat of death

Possibly evidenced by

  • Withdrawal
  • Apprehension
  • Anger
  • Increased pain, sympathetic stimulation
  • Expressions of denial, shock, guilt, insomnia

Desired Outcomes

  • Acknowledge and discuss fears/concerns.
  • Demonstrate appropriate range of feelings and appear relaxed/resting appropriately.
  • Verbalize accurate knowledge of the situation.
  • Report beginning use of individually appropriate coping strategies.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Evaluate patient/SO level of understanding of diagnosis. Patient and SO are hearing and assimilating new information that includes changes in self-image and lifestyle. Understanding the perceptions of those involved set the tone for individualizing care and provides information necessary for choosing appropriate interventions.
Acknowledge the reality of patient’s fears or concerns and encourage the expression of feelings. Support may enable the patient to begin exploring and dealing with the reality of cancer and its treatment. The patient may need time to identify feelings and even more time to begin to express them.
Provide an opportunity for questions and answer them honestly. Be sure that patient and care providers have the.same understanding of terms used. Establishes trust and reduces misperceptions and/or misinterpretation of information
Accept, but do not reinforce, patient’s denial of the situation. When extreme denial or anxiety is interfering with the progress of recovery, the issues facing the patient need to be explained and resolutions explored.
Note comments or behaviors indicative of beginning acceptance and/or use of effective strategies to deal with the situation. Fear and/or anxiety will diminish as the patient begins to accept or deal positively with reality. An indicator of patient’s readiness to accept responsibility for participation in recovery and to “resume life.”
Involve patient/SO in care planning. Provide time to prepare for events or treatments. May help restore some feeling of control or independence to the patient who feels powerless in dealing with diagnosis and treatment.
Provide for patient’s physical comfort. It is difficult to deal with emotional issues when experiencing extreme or persistent physical discomfort.

See Also

You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Respiratory Care Plans

Care plans about respiratory system disorders:

Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.


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