How to be more involved in decisions that affect you

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teen girl with doctor

Being informed about your treatment can help you know what to expect and feel more in control.

Here is a list of questions that you can ask your healthcare team about your treatment. If you feel nervous at first, ask your family or partner to come with you for support.

  • Why am I getting this particular treatment and how will the treatment affect me physically and emotionally?
  • What are the risks and benefits of having this treatment?
  • Are other treatments available instead of this one?
  • What might happen if I do not have this treatment?
  • What are the short-term and long-term side effects of this treatment?

The answers to these questions will help you understand what to expect. For instance, if your treatment includes medication, your doctor may sometimes give you a list of the most common side effects that might occur. Remember, only some – or maybe none – of these side effects might actually happen. But since your doctor cannot predict which ones will affect you, they may mention all the possible side effects so at least you are prepared.

You may find that a lot of other people offer opinions about how to treat your pain, sometimes based on their own experiences or information they have seen or read online. Make sure that the person advising you has the right expertise to answer your questions – your healthcare team is the best place to start.

Each member of your healthcare team has different areas of expertise. If you are not sure which person to ask, your nurse can guide you to the right healthcare professional. Your nurse can also help you with many of your questions.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016