NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma - page 46

44
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Version 1.2014
7
Treatment plans
Getting a 2
nd
opinion
Advance care planning starts with an honest talk
between you and your doctors. You don’t have to
know the exact details of your prognosis. Just having
a general idea will help with planning. With this
information, you can decide at what point you’d want
to stop cancer treatment, if at all. You can also decide
what treatments you’d want for symptom relief.
Another part of the planning involves hospice care.
Hospice care doesn’t include treatment to fight the
cancer but rather to reduce symptoms caused by
cancer. Hospice care may be started because you
aren’t interested in more cancer treatment, no other
cancer treatment is available, or because you may be
too sick for cancer treatment.
Hospice care allows you to have the best quality of
life possible. Care is given all day, every day of the
week. You can choose to have hospice care at home
or at a hospice center. One study found that patients
and caregivers had a better quality of life when
hospice care was started early.
An advance directive describes the treatment you’d
want if you weren’t able to make your wishes known.
It also can name a person whom you’d want to make
decisions for you. It is a legal paper that your doctors
have to follow. It can reveal your wishes about life-
sustaining machines, such as feeding tubes. It can
also include your treatment wishes if your heart or
lungs were to stop working. If you already have an
advance directive, it may need to be updated to be
legally valid.
Getting a 2
nd
opinion
The time around a cancer diagnosis can be very
stressful. People with cancer often want to start
treatment as soon as possible. While cancer can’t
be ignored, there is time to think about and choose
which treatment plan is best for you. You may wish to
have another doctor review your test results and the
treatment plan your doctor has recommended. This is
called getting a 2
nd
opinion.
Copies of all test results need to be sent to the doctor
giving the 2
nd
opinion. Some people feel uneasy
asking for copies from their doctors. However, a 2
nd
opinion is a normal part of cancer care. What’s more,
some health plans require a 2
nd
opinion. If your health
plan doesn’t cover the cost of a 2
nd
opinion, you have
the choice of paying for it yourself.
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