NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017
It may be time to set up a plan.
Part 9 looks at advance care planning and
preparing your loved ones to cope with
the possibility of advanced cancer or even
death. Hospice care for incurable disease
is all about the quality of life.
Most people with cancer go into treatment determined
to “beat this thing.” And lots of them do—at any
given time there are millions of cancer survivors in
the U.S. alone. But sometimes beating cancer isn’t
an option. When cancer is diagnosed very late or
keeps progressing despite all treatment efforts, it may
be time to set some new goals. If it becomes clear
that cure is not possible, treatment becomes about
making the most of your time and assuring that you
can meet death on your own terms.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning is all about making sure that
your wishes are understood and respected. The focus
is on you receiving the best possible care at the end
of your life. Patients with incurable cancer can set up
an advance care plan early on to be prepared to cope
with their condition and the paths it can take.
The advance care planning process starts with
an open and honest discussion with your doctor
about your prognosis—what you may experience
in the coming months—and the medications or
therapies that may give you the best quality of life.
This discussion should include your partner and/or
other family members who love you and are likely to
be with you at the end. It’s important that everyone
understand the goals of your care and your personal
wishes about what should—and should not—be done.
Once you’ve made these decisions, you will fill out
a legal document that lays out what you want done
if you aren’t able to tell the doctors yourself. This
document is called an advance directive.
Thinking about the
74 What is advance care planning?
76 What can I do to cope when time is
77 What is hospice care?