Making treatment decisions

When you're diagnosed with cancer, and at any point afterwards, it's likely you will be asked to decide if you want to go ahead with a treatment or to choose between different options.

The information on this page will help you to find out more about making treatment decisions, where they fit in with your cancer care and how can help.

When might I be offered a treatment choice?

Your treatment and care will be planned by your specialist cancer team and multidisciplinary team (MDT) who work together to decide what the best options are for your situation.

Treatment choices may be offered at any time from when you're diagnosed with cancer. The decisions you might be asked to make include:

  • Choosing between different treatments
  • Whether to start treatment now or delay
  • Choosing a more intensive treatment option
  • Taking part in a clinical trial
  • Changing treatments
  • Having treatment or not

Why do I have to make a decision?

Being asked to choose which treatment to go for may feel overwhelming and can be a lot of information to deal with at a stressful time.

Your doctor may advise one treatment over another if there is more than one option, but ultimately it's your decision, because you will need to give overall consent to go ahead.

How do I choose?

To give informed consent, you should be given all the information, including any risks and side effects by your healthcare team. 

It can all be a lot to take in but you will be given time to think about it.

You might find it helpful to:

  • Ask questions, or for more information, from your healthcare team
  • Ask for more time to think, if you need it
  • Talk over options again with your cancer nurse specialist
  • Speak to someone who has gone through similar treatment. Ask your specialist nurse to help put you in touch or see if there's a support group at your nearest centre
  • Discuss with family and friends
  • Write a list of pros and cons to help make things clear
  • Ask for a second opinion – if you are still not sure
  • Talk your options through with a Cancer Support Specialist – find your nearest centre

is here with you

You might have questions about your treatment and how you'll manage.

Our Cancer Support Specialists are here listen to your concerns and help you find the information and help that's right for you:

Last review: Oct 2021 | Next review: Oct 2021

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