NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma - page 85

85
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Melanoma
Version 1.2013
Part 8: Accepting a treatment plan
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Definitions:
Chemotherapy:
Drugs
that kill all cells that grow
rapidly, including normal
cells and cancer cells
Immunotherapy:
Treatment that activates or
boosts the body’s natural
defense against disease
(immune system) to fight
cancer
Prognosis:
The course
and outcome of a disease
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 may have never
heard the words used to describe melanoma, 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 making a shared treatment decision. 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. It 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
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