NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Prostate Cancer
Part 8: Making treatment decisions
• How many procedures like the one you’re
suggesting have you done?
• Is this treatment a major part of your practice?
• How many of your patients have had complications?
8.3 Weighing your options
Deciding which option is best can be hard. Doctors from
different fields of medicine may have different opinions on
which option is best for you. This can be very confusing.
Your spouse or partner may disagree with which option
you want. This can be stressful. In some cases, one
option hasn’t been shown to work better than another, so
science isn’t helpful. Some ways to decide on treatment
are discussed next.
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 their cancer go away before
it spreads farther. While cancer can’t be ignored, there is
time to think about and choose which option is best for
You may wish to have another doctor review your test
results and suggest a treatment plan. This is called
getting a 2
opinion. You may completely trust your
doctor, but a 2
opinion on which option is best 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 2
opinion. Some people feel uneasy asking
for copies from their doctors. However, a 2
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
opinion. If your health
plan doesn’t cover the cost of a 2
opinion, you have the
choice of paying for it yourself.
If the two opinions are the same, you may feel more at
peace about the treatment you accept to have. If the
two opinions differ, think about getting a 3
opinion may help you decide between your options.
Choosing your cancer treatment is a very important
decision. It can affect your length and quality of life.
Decision aids are tools that help people make complex
choices. For example, you may have to choose between
two options that work equally as well. Sometimes making
a decision is hard because there is a lack of science
supporting a treatment.
Decision aids often focus on one decision point. In
contrast, this booklet presents tests and treatment
options at each point of care for large groups of patients.
Well-designed decision aids include information that
research has identified as what people need to make
decisions. They also aim to help you think about what’s
important based on your values and preferences.