Cancer can be one of the most complicated concepts in medicine, not only because of the pathophysiology of cancer, but the complicated statistics involved in the epidemiology of the diseases and interpreting the results of studies on treatments.
If your previous studies have been completely outside of the biological sciences, it will be very difficult to gain the degree of understanding that you seem to want. Even if you have some biology background, at best, you should definitely not expect to gain the expertise to confidently second-guess actual medical providers.
However, I applaud you for your desire to understand as much as possible, and you certainly may be able to learn enough to follow along in conversations about risks and benefits of different treatment options, and to have educated discussions about what is going on with your loved one.
You might FIRST START with patient education websites from the NIH or CDC on the basics of lung cancer, then fill in the gaps of details and background needed using textbooks on the underlying concepts.
For that, these are some of the more popular texts used in medical school, if you are able to get your hands on them, which have good sections on lung cancer.
Advancing your understanding of the mechanisms underlying cancer development and progression:
- Pathoma (the sections on oncogenesis are fantastic)
I would also do some reading on how to interpret the statistics pertinent to cancer, such as odds ratio, relative risk, number needed to treat, sensitivity/specificity, incidence, mortality rates, 5 year survival rates, etc. Statistics are not taught well in most schools these days and additional knowledge is important to being able to understand how decisions are made.