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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017

8 Making treatment decisions It's your choice | Questions to ask your doctors

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 7 aimed

to teach you about thyroid cancer. Part

8 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. However, 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. In shared decision-making,

you and your doctors share information, discuss 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 can decide on a plan that works best

for you when it comes to your personal and health


Questions to ask your doctors

You will likely meet with experts from different

fields of medicine. It is helpful to talk with each

person. Prepare questions before your visit and ask

questions if the information isn’t clear. You can also

record your talks and get copies of your medical

records. It may be helpful to have a family member or

friend with you at these visits. A patient advocate or

navigator might also be able to come. They can help

you ask questions and remember what was said.

The questions below are suggestions for information

you read about in this book. Feel free to use these

questions or come up with your own personal

questions to ask your doctor and other members of

your treatment team.