NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
30 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, 2019 4 Making treatment decisions It’s your choice | Questions to ask Having cancer is very stressful. While absorbing the fact that you have cancer, you have to learn about tests and treatments. In addition, the time you have to accept a treatment plan feels short. Parts 1 through 3 described the cancer and treatment options. Part 4 aims to help you make decisions that are in line with your beliefs, wishes, and values. It’s your choice The role each person wants in choosing his or her treatment differs. You may feel uneasy about making treatment decisions. This may be due to a high level of stress. It may be hard to hear or know what others are saying. Stress, pain, and drugs can limit your ability to make good decisions. You may feel uneasy because you don’t know much about cancer. You’ve never heard the words used to describe cancer, tests, or treatments. Likewise, you may think that your judgment isn’t any better than your doctors’. Letting others decide which option is best may make you feel more at ease. But, whom do you want to make the decisions? You may rely on your doctors alone to make the right decisions. However, your doctors may not tell you which option to choose if you have multiple good options. You can also have loved ones help. They can gather information, speak on your behalf, and share in decision-making with your doctors. Even if others decide which treatment you will receive, you still have to agree by signing a consent form. On the other hand, you may want to take the lead or share in decision-making. Most patients do. In shared decision-making, you and your doctors share information, weigh the options, and agree on a treatment plan. Your doctors know the science behind your plan but you know your concerns and goals. By working together, you are likely to get a higher quality of care and be more satisfied. You’ll likely get the treatment you want, at the place you want, and by the doctors you want. Questions to ask your doctors You may meet with experts from different fields of medicine. Strive to have helpful talks with each person. Prepare questions before your visit and ask questions if the person isn’t clear. You can also take notes and get copies of your medical records. It may be helpful to have your spouse, partner, family member, or a friend with you at these visits. A patient advocate or navigator might also be able to come. They can help to ask questions and remember what was said. Suggested questions to ask are listed on the following pages.