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Treatment Choices: Overview

Each year over 1.2 million women and men will be diagnosed with cancer. They go from busy, over-committed members of the community to “cancer patients” in the span of one short office visit.

As they struggle to come to terms with this pronouncement, several critical decisions need to be made in a relatively short amount of time. One of their first thoughts is often, ”What do I do now?”

In this section we will discuss the following treatment choices:

  • Standard Choices
  • Complementary and Alternative (CAM) Choices
  • Clinical Trial Choices
You may quickly learn that there is no simple answer.

Attempting to function while experiencing shock, fear and the need to decide which surgery and/or treatment options to select, you may end up with emotional, physical and cognitive overload.

This may result in “decisional conflict” which compounds the problem. The literature documents that making a decision about the best treatment option to select can be difficult, adding more stress on top of existing stress.

We will discuss all of these topics in detail in this section.

Although no one would argue that the recent advances in science leading to more available options for cancer patients is not wonderful, it does present a unique set of new problems.

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How will you make these choices and what support exists to assist you
during this period?

Making an informed decision is important but difficult.

The New York Times published an article on this topic in 2005 that stated:

“This is the blessing and the burden of being a modern patient. A generation ago, patients argued for more information, more choice and more say about treatment. To a great extent, that is exactly what they have received: a superabundance of information, often several treatment options and the right to choose among them.

As this new responsibility dawns on patients, some embrace it with a sense of pride and furious determination. But many find the job of being a modern patient, with its slog through medical uncertainty, to be lonely, frightening and overwhelming."

Your Medical Team is also struggling

Increased pressure on clinicians compounds this problem. In particular, these partners in your decision-making are faced with an ever-growing number of patients at the same time they are having their reimbursements cut, whether through insurance and/or Medicare reimbursements.

This often results in shorter office visits or fewer support staff. The combination of overloaded patients in decisional conflict and a rushed and overburdened medical staff is a situation in desperate need of new tools.

One of the goals of our website:

We will provide information and tools that you can bring to your doctors. We hope these will assist you in making the critical treatment decisions that you may face.

Each type of cancer, as well as each individual cancer diagnosis, may offer different options, so be sure to discuss this with your medical team.

Also remember to discuss evidenced-based medicine with your doctor.

Coming Soon...

Printable Templates to assist you as you make your treatment choices are in development. We encourage you to print these and fill them out with the help of your medical and support teams.



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