NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Colon Cancer, Version 1.2014
RN is the program
manager for the
colorectal cancer clinic
at The Sidney Kimmel
Center at Johns Hopkins.
On the NCCN Panel for
Colon Cancer, she has the
important role as patient
advocate. As a colon
cancer survivor, she can
speak first-hand about
fighting colon cancer.
Making treatment decisions
Weighing your options
Weighing your options
Deciding which option is best can be hard. Doctors
from different fields of medicine may differ on which
option is best for you. This can be very confusing.
Your spouse or partner may disagree with which
option you want. This can be stressful. In some
cases, one option hasn’t been shown to work better
than another, so science isn’t helpful. Some ways to
decide on treatment are discussed next.
The time around a cancer diagnosis is very stressful.
People with cancer often want to get treated as soon
as possible. They want to make their cancer go
away before it spreads farther. While cancer can’t be
ignored, there is time to think about and choose which
option is best for you.
You may wish to have another doctor review your test
results and suggest a treatment plan. This is called
getting a 2
opinion. You may completely trust your
doctor, but a 2
opinion on which option is best can
Copies of the pathology report, a DVD of the imaging
tests, and other test results need to be sent to the
doctor giving the 2
opinion. Some people feel
uneasy asking for copies from their doctors. However,
opinion is a normal part of cancer care.
When doctors have cancer, most will talk with more
than one doctor before choosing their treatment.
What’s more, some health plans require a 2
If your health plan doesn’t cover the cost of a 2
opinion, you have the choice of paying for it yourself.
If the two opinions are the same, you may feel more
at peace about the treatment you accept to have.
If the two opinions differ, think about getting a 3
opinion. A 3
opinion may help you decide between
your options. Choosing your cancer treatment is a
very important decision. It can affect your length and
quality of life.
Besides talking to health experts, it may help to talk
to patients who have walked in your shoes. Support
groups often consist of people at different stages of
treatment. Some may be in the process of deciding
while others may be finished with treatment. At
support group meetings, you can ask questions and
hear about the experiences of other patients.
Compare benefits and downsides
Every option has benefits and downsides. Consider
these when deciding which option is best for you.
Talking to others can help identify benefits and
downsides you haven’t thought of. Scoring each
factor from 0 to 10 can also help since some factors
may be more important to you than others.