NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Multiple Myeloma
7.3 Your role in planning
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.
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 the cancer go away before
it spreads 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 2nd 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 2nd opinion on which
treatment is right for you can help.
Copies of the pathology report, a DVD of the imaging
tests, and other test results need to be sent to the doctor
giving the 2nd opinion. Some people feel uneasy asking
for copies from their doctors. However, a 2nd 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 2nd opinion. If your health plan doesn’t cover the cost
of a 2nd opinion, you have the choice of paying for it
Choosing your cancer treatment is a very important
decision. It can affect your length and quality of life.
7.4 Getting a 2nd opinion