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21

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017

††

Bring someone with you when meeting with

doctors. You may also want to think about

writing down or recording what you talk about

so you can review it later.

††

Get copies of blood tests, imaging results,

and reports about the specific type of cancer

you have. It will be helpful when getting a 2

nd

opinion (more on that later).

††

Get organized since you can get a lot of paper

such as insurance forms, medical records,

and tests results. Make sure you have easy

access to contact information for everyone on

your treatment team.

††

Be prepared because cancer doctors are

often on very tight schedules, so you’ll want to

make the most of the time you have. Make a

list of the questions or issues you want to talk

about before you go to each doctor’s visit.

Most importantly, ask for help if you need it. You are

anything but alone in this diagnosis.

What are my options?

When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer it’s

perfectly natural to want to get the cancer out of your

body right away. That being said, it is a good idea

to start treatment within a few weeks of a diagnosis.

You can take that time right after diagnosis to get a

2

nd

opinion.

Be sure you are working with doctors who understand

the unique needs of AYAs with cancer. You also want

to make sure they have experience treating patients

with the same type of cancer you have.

Getting a 2

nd

opinion

Even if you like and trust your doctor, it is usually a

good idea to get a 2

nd

opinion. Checking a biopsy

sample requires skill and experience. It’s a possibility

another doctor will see something the first pathologist

missed. A cancer doctor (oncologist) may also bring a

different view on the type of treatment that’s best for

you. For example, a surgical oncologist may suggest

that surgery is your best option, while a medical

oncologist may suggest chemotherapy.

If nothing else, a 2

nd

opinion can confirm that your

first doctor and pathologist got it right. Getting

a 2

nd

opinion is common and important if:

††

Your doctor has little knowledge about treating

the type of cancer you have.

††

Your test results were unclear and you need

more tests done.

††

You live in a rural area.

††

You have a rare type of cancer.

††

You want to join in a clinical trial.

2

Dealing with the diagnosis

What are my options?

Finding your 2

nd

opinion

The R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation

at

www.blochcancer.org/resources/

multidisciplinary-2nd-opinion-centers

has a list of institutions across the

country that offer 2

nd

opinions.

The Navigate Cancer Foundation at

www.navigatecancerfoundation.org

has experienced cancer nurses who

can help you find a qualified doctor for

a 2

nd

opinion.