What matters most to you?
Make sure your doctor sees the full picture
In the previous section ‘How do doctors make treatment choices?’ you read about how your doctor will make treatment decisions based on a number of medical factors. However, living with secondary breast cancer is not just about medicine. There's much more to life, and medical information is only part of the picture. You may have things you would like to continue doing and new things you would like to start. Your treatment plan can play a part in this, but your doctor will not know what is most important to you unless you discuss it. Not only are you entitled to be involved in the choices about your care, it also ensures you are getting the treatment that suits you best. It may often help you feel happier about what is going on.
Questions to ask yourself before speaking to your doctor
There are benefits and drawbacks to all the treatments available to you. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible so that you can make a more informed decision together.
With the right treatment, you can keep doing what matters most.
Here are some examples of questions you should consider:
Before you discuss treatments with your doctor
- What do you want to know?
- Who should you bring with you to your appointments?
- What support is available?
- What was your experience of any previous cancer treatment like?
You can capture any thoughts you have in ‘Your Doctor Discussion Guide’. This guide has been developed by Pfizer to support you in thinking about what you want from life and your treatment. It provides a place to capture your thoughts before your consultation. Print the form and remember to bring it to your next appointment as it may help your doctor to understand more about you."
During your appointment?
- What do you want to get out of your treatment?
- How often do you want to come into hospital?
- What does 'quality of life' mean to you? and how important is it to you?
- What things do you want to keep doing?
Think about what matters most to you
Everyone is different. Only you can know what you want from life and it can be helpful to write a list of the things that matter to you most. You may want to think about whether you want to keep working or if it’s important for you to remain active. Would you like to learn a new skill or language, is there a holiday you’d like to go on, or an ambition you’d like to fulfil? All these things can be positive.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what mattersmost to you
- I want to enjoy more time with friends and family
- I want to keep active
- I want to keep working
- I don’t want my appearance to change
- I want to stay independent
- I want to travel
- I have a big event coming up I don’t want to miss
- I have new hobbies I want to try
‘Your Doctor Discussion Guide’ is a printable form designed to help you capture any questions you’d like to ask and cover off everything you might want to discuss with the doctor. Remember, nothing is too trivial to mention if it is important to you.