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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016


Making treatment decisions

Weighing your options



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.

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


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


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. 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.

Support groups

Besides talking to health experts, it may help to talk

to patients who have walked in your shoes. Support

groups often consist of people at different stages of

treatment. Some may be in the process of deciding

while others may be finished with treatment. At

support groups, you can ask questions and hear

about the experiences of other people with glioma.

Compare benefits and downsides

Every option has benefits and downsides. Consider

these when deciding which option is best for you.

Talking to others can help identify benefits and

downsides you haven’t thought of. Scoring each

factor from 0 to 10 can also help since some factors

may be more important to you than others.


American Brain Tumor Association

American Cancer Society detailedguide/index

National Cancer Institute

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship