Understanding Cancer

Lung Cancer

Lung cancers are tumours that usually first appear in the lining of the bronchi or bronchioles. These are the small tubes in the lungs that breath passes through. As the tumours enlarge they can block off the bronchi and make breathing difficult.

They commonly spread into the local lymph nodes and occasionally the chest wall. This reduces the airways capacity leading to shortness of breath and coughing.

What to expect before, during, and after radiotherapy treatment:

Explore The Patient Pathway

Most forms of lung cancer will spread, most often into the local lymph nodes and occasionally the chest wall. 

Two common kinds of lung cancer can grow so fast that they often spread to other parts of the body before they can be found and treated. These kinds of cancers make up almost one third of all cases. Some forms grow slowly, and can often be found and treated before they spread outside the lungs. Some rarely spread at all, but those make up a very small portion of all lung cancer cases. 

 All types of lung cancer are aggravated by smoking and make treatment more difficult. 

The Cancer Society is a valuable resource for lung cancer patients, which you can scroll down to download.

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The Patient Pathway

First Specialist Appointment

At the first specialist appointment you will meet with your specialist radiation oncologist (RO) to discuss the proposed radiotherapy treatment approach and answer any questions and concerns you may have.


At the treatment planning appointment a patient care specialist (nurse or radiation therapist) will explain the procedures in more detail and answer any concerns that you might have about ARO or your treatment.


During the days following your orientation and treatment planning appointment our team of experts (physicists, radiation therapist planners and your radiation oncologist) work together to develop the ideal treatment plan for you. This involves a highly sophisticated planning software system and review process to guarantee safe and effective delivery of treatment. Depending on the site and complexity of the treatment, this stage can take up to two weeks.

First Day of Treatment

You’ll need to arrive 10-15 minutes before your allocated treatment time so that we can greet you and to give you time to get changed for your treatment.

If you are driving, we recommend you enter Gate 3, 98 Mountain Road and drive up the ramp to the mid level car park. Please walk across the link bridge to Auckland Radiation Oncology (ARO). Please report to the ARO reception desk. See location and parking for more information.

During Treatment

Weekly reviews with your radiation oncologist or one of our patient care team will be conducted to monitor any side effects and provide on-going support and advice as required.

Last Week of Treatment

An appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a member of our patient care team to ensure appropriate care is organised after your last treatment visit. This may include regular monitoring of blood results, appointments for dressings and management of side effects.

Following Treatment