Previous Page  75 / 94 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 75 / 94 Next Page
Page Background


NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017

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 6 described the cancer

and treatment options. Part 7 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.


Making treatment decisions

It's your choice | Questions to ask

I did attend an ostomy support

group during my treatments, which

was helpful. These were people

who knew exactly what I was going

through since some of them were

rectal cancer survivors.


Survivor, Stage III