What Help Can I Get to Make Decisions about Breast Cancer Treatment Options?

Question: What can help me with my decision making related to breast cancer treatment options?

Answer: Well, probably the most important thing that anyone can do to help with the decision is to have a conversation or dialogue with your physician. Any physician who is worth his weight is willing to sit down with a patient and talk about her options, how she should approach it, and what she should do under what circumstances.

If your physician isn't willing to do this with you, find another physician who will.

The other avenues that are available to all patients are things like support groups -- and there are plenty of them in every community -- or by telephone to different places, such as the National Cancer Institute, the 1-800-I'm-Aware number, and it's also apparent -- and lots of people talk to friends and family.

I think, though, I have to throw in a little precaution about friends and family, because no two people are alike. And everyone has their own particular prejudices they would like to share the minute they get the chance to do so. So that's the last on my list, in terms of what I would do to find out the right choice.

And of course, there's the Internet. Be careful about how one uses the Internet. There are wonderful web sites that give spectacularly good information; and there are some that give very poor information.

Each patient must try to judge for herself the origin of the information so that she can sense for herself whether that's from a good guy or a from a not-so-good guy.

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