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34

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Version 1.2016

Finding out you have cancer can be

very stressful. While absorbing the fact

that you have cancer, you also must

learn about tests and treatments. In

addition, the time you have to decide on

a treatment plan may feel short. Parts

1 through 5 aimed to teach you about

pleural malignant mesothelioma. Part

6 addresses ways to assist you when

deciding on a treatment plan.

It’s your choice

The role patients want in choosing their 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 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

record your talks and get copies of your medical

records.

It may be helpful to have your spouse, partner, 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 your doctors can be

found on the next couple of pages. Look over the

questions and use the notes sections to create your

own questions.

6

Making treatment decisions

It’s your choice

Questions to ask your doctors