Once you have a cancer diagnosis, you have to make many decisions about your medical treatment. Cancer treatment decisions are personal, and you should feel comfortable about the choices you make. It is expected that most patients and their families don’t know where to start and how to start. At My Cancer Journey, we have some helpful tips for you on how to approach your cancer treatment decisions.
Set the Basic Rules
It is recommended to set certain rules even before you start exploring your treatment options. You may never have known or thought about these rules before:
- Determine how much you want to know about your treatment and chances of survival. Let your doctor know about this. Your doctor should also know whether you want someone else to know about your diagnosis.
- Determine how you will be making your treatment decisions. You may want your doctor to make the decisions, yourself, or you want to share the decision process.
- When your doctor gives you estimates of what to expect from each type of treatment and side effects, you should weigh the benefits of the treatment and its side effects.
- Get help. You are going to need support during your cancer treatment, whether it will be from your doctor, friends, or family.
- If you don’t find the desired support, get in touch with advocacy groups.
Consider Your Cancer Treatment Goal
When you decide what you want out of your treatment, it becomes simpler to select the right treatment course. The different types of goals cancer patients have include:
- Cure: Your doctor should inform you about your chances of a cure. When a cure is likely, you may be more willing to bear short-term side effects.
- Control: When you have later-stage cancer or previous treatments have not been effective, your goal may be to control cancer. Certain treatments may help subdue or stop cancer from growing.
- Comfort: When you have advanced-stage cancer or your cancer has not responded to treatments, comfort may be your top priority. You can work with your doctor to ensure you stay pain-free, and hospice care and other relevant services may be best for you.
If you want to make the right treatment decision, you should know what cancer type you have, the stage, the treatment options available, and their chances of working.
Evaluate Treatment Benefits Vs Risks
Next, you should compare the benefits and risks of different cancer treatments to determine which ones match your goals. Each treatment should be rated based on its pros and cons.
You should consider the following points relevant to each treatment option:
- Side effects
- How the treatment will affect your life?
- Cost of treatment
- Your general health
Your goals and personal values will also impact your choice of treatments. It is important to realize that it is you who decides the treatment option that will best fit your life. There is also room for making changes during your treatment. While you go through all these steps, it is recommended to be in constant communication with your doctor.
If you need more input and guidance on making your cancer treatment decisions, feel free to contact My Cancer Journey. You can talk to one of our representatives by calling 737.307.0077, or you may also send us a message via this Online Form.