NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 44

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 4: Navigating the treatment process
Developing a treatment plan
Setting treatment goals
Deciding on a treatment goal may seem like a no-brainer:
you want to get better. But when dealing with something
as complicated as cancer, “getting better” can mean
different things to different people. Treatment goals
typically fall into several basic categories:
Cure – The complete elimination of the cancer.
Remission – No detectable evidence of the cancer.
Disease control – Preventing the cancer from
getting worse.
Symptom control – Preventing and treating
symptoms caused by cancer or its treatment.
To decide on your personal treatment goals, you and your
team will consider many different factors, including:
The type and stage of the cancer,
The prognosis of the cancer—what the cancer is
likely to do with or without treatment,
The treatment options available for this type of
cancer, including clinical trials,
The potential side effects of each treatment option,
including long-term effects,
Your overall health,
Your personal definition of “good quality of life,”
Your feelings about side effects, and
Your spiritual beliefs.
Even if your initial goal is to cure the cancer, it’s possible
that it will change over time. Make sure that you and your
team revisit your treatment goals regularly to ensure that
everyone is on the same page and working toward the
same goal.
Treatment planning
A treatment plan is a written course of action that covers
every stage of the treatment process, from neoadjuvant
therapy onward. It serves as a guideline for everyone
involved in your care, reminding them of decisions that
have already been made, and guiding future discussion
and changes to your care plan.
If you’re in a relationship or still in your teens, your
partner or parents will probably want to be involved in
treatment planning. This can be a huge help, particularly
when your head is still spinning from the shock of
diagnosis, but it’s important to keep in mind that you
have the final say. Your loved ones can help you find
information, take notes, ask questions, and talk through
your options, but only you can decide if a treatment plan
is right for you.
The specifics of your treatment plan will be based on the
nature of the cancer you have, the various treatments
available, and your personal resources, beliefs, wishes,
and values.
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