NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Esophageal Cancer - page 85

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Esophageal Cancer
Version 1.2013
Part 7: Accepting a treatment plan
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Passive role
In a passive role, a person often doesn’t seek out information, speak up for him/
herself, or think through treatment options. This may be due to a high level of
stress. It may be hard to hear or know what others are saying. Stress, pain,
and drugs can limit your ability to make good decisions. You may also want a
passive role because you don’t know much about cancer. You’ve never heard
the words used to describe esophageal cancer, tests, or treatments. Likewise,
you may think that your judgement isn’t any better than your doctors’.
Letting others decide your treatment may make you feel more at ease. But,
who do you want to make the decisions? You may rely on your doctors alone to
make the right decisions. You can also have loved ones help. They can gather
information, speak on your behalf, and share decision making with your doctors.
Even if others decide your treatment, you still have to agree to treatment by
signing a consent form.
Active role
In an active role, a person often searches for all information, prepares for
all outcomes, and speaks up for him/herself. He or she may take the lead or
share in decision making. Taking this role may make you feel more certain and
hopeful. You’ll likely get the treatment you want, at the place you want, and by
the doctors you want.
There are four key steps to shared decision making. First, know what you want
from treatment. Do you want a cure or symptom relief? What hardships are
you willing to accept to meet your goal? Second, know your test results. This
information can pinpoint what’s important for you on websites and in books and
brochures. Test results can also clarify which treatments are needed.
Third, strive to have helpful talks with your doctor. Prepare questions before
your visit and ask questions if your doctor isn’t clear. You can also record your
talks and get copies of your medical records. Fourth, accept help from others.
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