Decision Making For The Cancer Patient. How To Make An Informed Choice?

A diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing event. Patients and their caregivers need time just to process and understand the diagnosis.  In this situation, it is not easy to make complicated and potentially life-altering decisions.  How then, does one go about choosing the right treatment for cancer?

Cancer is a complex illness. It follows that diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of cancer is a complex process.

The first thing to understand is that there are always options.  There is rarely “one size fits all” in cancer treatment.  In operable cancers, it could be the type of surgery, for eg. mastectomy versus conservation surgery in breast cancer.  It could be a choice of open versus minimally invasive surgery in gastrointestinal cancer.  In advanced cancer, options could be palliative chemotherapy or best supportive care alone.  Understand that there are always pros and cons to each option.  The latest or most advanced or most expensive may not always be what is most suitable.

This is the link to a post that presents an example for options in breast cancer surgery, and how to make a choice

Spend time with your oncologist or other treating doctor.  Always understand all the options, and why a particular option may be preferable to another.  If necessary, ask them for trusted resources on the internet which make it easy to understand your diagnosis and treatment options. There are many sources of information available and each individual should have a choice of good quality information.

In summary, spend time understanding the diagnosis of cancer, know about the choices available, and make an informed decision.