Talking about treatment choices with a palliative care provider

Some people want to know everything about their illness and want to be involved in all decisions. Others do not want to know much or to make any decisions. You can be as involved as you want to be.

In some cases, there may be more treatment choices than you think. Be sure to ask your doctor about all the possibilities. The best treatment for you may not be what is best for someone else.

Your treatment decisions are based on your life, goals, and values. For example, your goal may be to celebrate your wedding anniversary in 6 months. Or maybe you want to visit your best friend across the country. If your palliative care doctor is aware of these goals, he or she can give you the best treatment to meet those goals.

You may choose to weigh the pros and cons of different treatments. Some people may want to have any treatment that could extend their life. Others may prefer not to have a treatment that has a very small chance of working, especially if that treatment has serious side effects. If you are not sure how well a treatment is expected to work or what the side effects might be, ask your doctor.

Sometimes the decision to stop a certain treatment can be just as hard as the decision to continue a treatment.

Last Updated: March 4, 2010

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