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10 ways to make better decisions about cancer care
Date:9/20/2011

ormation. At the end of the discussion, ask your doctor if a written summary of the risks and benefits is available. Or ask your doctor to help you summarize all the information in writing.

8. Don't get hung up on averages. Some studies have found that learning the average risk of a disease does not help patients make good decisions about what's best for them. Your risk is what matters not anyone else's. Focus on the information that applies specifically to you.

9. Less may be more. Don't get overwhelmed by too much information. In some cases, there may be many different treatment options but only a few may be relevant to you. Ask your doctor to narrow it down and only discuss with you the options and facts most relevant for you.

10. Consider your risk over time. Your risk may change over time. "What seems like a small risk over the next year or two may look a lot larger when considered over your lifetime," says study author Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D, assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health.

If you're told the five-year risk of your cancer returning after a certain treatment, ask what the 10-year or 20-year risk is. In some cases, this data might not be available, but always be aware of the timeframe involved.


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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