NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Multiple Myeloma - page 65

63
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
Multiple Myeloma, Version 1.2014
5
Deciding on a treatment plan Getting a 2
nd
opinion
also want a passive role because you don’t know
much about cancer. You may have never heard the
words used to describe multiple myeloma, tests,
or treatments. Likewise, you may think that your
judgment isn’t any better than your doctors’.
Letting others decide your treatment may make you
feel more at ease. But, whom 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 himself or 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 and get copies
of your medical records. Fourth, accept help from
others. An active role doesn’t mean going through
it alone. Others can help you be active by finding
information, taking notes, asking questions, and
helping you talk through your options.
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. They want to make the
cancer go away before it spreads any farther. 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.
Multiple myeloma is a serious disease, and new
information may have been published about which
treatments are most effective and safe. You may
completely trust your doctor, but a 2
nd
opinion on
which treatment is right for you can help.
Copies of all of the 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. 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
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.
Choosing your cancer treatment is a very important
decision. It can affect length and quality of life. There
are few cancers that are so aggressive that you can’t
take a few weeks to get a 2
nd
opinion and select the
best treatment for you.
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