Informed Decision Making for Patients with Cancer

Some cancers are aggressive; but, a number of them may also develop slowly that individuals with these types of cancer do not need to rush to make treatment decisions. Taking the time to talk things out, understanding their condition and studying options are still preferable because they give patients the time to think and prepare themselves physically, emotionally and financially. Hence, things become less stressful for them. Some factors that comprise informed decision making for patients with cancer are the following:

1. Obtain facts about your cancer.
Your doctor has told you which cancer type you have and in what stage it is already. This basic information will allow you to do some research. Make sure, however, that you will visit only trustworthy websites (like that of national cancer organizations) as some cannot be relied on. Look for journals related to your condition as well. You may find insights that may help you survive or cope with the disease. Check online support groups. Connecting with people afflicted with health situation similar to yours can greatly help you in terms of getting emotional support.

Do not forget to discuss everything that you learned from your oncologist. He can give you his helpful perceptions about each of them. You may write facts in a journal in order not to forget even the tiniest detail.

2. Talk with the entire members of the healthcare team.
Generally, cancer patients like you work with healthcare team, which primarily includes oncologist, therapist, nurse and dietician. These healthcare professionals identify treatment plans suitable for your cancer type. As part of the team, you should ask them about the positive changes that will happen to your body, possible side effects with each medical procedure, cost of treatment (to make you financially ready) and more important, chances of survival.

3. Get second opinion.
Getting information from other people and treatment centers may also educate you about informed decision making for patients with cancer. Do not feel embarrassed about doing this. In fact, some doctors even advise their patients to seek second opinion so they will feel more comfortable working with them.

4. Ask questions.
Do not be the patient that receives everything that is given to him. You should participate actively in your treatment program. Learn to ask questions, regardless if you feel silly about it. It is better to know the answers than to hide questions to yourself for a lifetime. Healthcare specialists appreciate this because this means that you mind what he is doing and that you are after your welfare or recovery.

You have to know how to reach your doctor so each time a question pops out or you need clarification for an item that you read, you can readily get answer.

The items above will teach you about informed decision making for patients with cancer. These can make you feel comfortable working with your healthcare team. These can prepare you for your treatments, physically and emotionally. More important, these can help you come up with educated decisions about your cancer.


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