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Treatment planning

When your doctor first tells you that you have cancer, it is very stressful and you may not remember much. You may want to see the doctor a few times before deciding on treatment.

If your doctor uses medical terms you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask for a simpler explanation. It’s also okay to bring close friends or family members to each interview.

Each time, before you see any of the doctors involved in explaining and organising your treatment, it may help to write down your questions beforehand. Taking notes or recording the discussion can also help.

It is possible (though not very common) that some very highly specialised treatments may not be available at every gynaecological cancer treatment centre. You should be informed of all available treatments and whether such a treatment would be of help to you. If it is not available at your centre then you should discuss with your doctor whether it would be in your interest to pursue this particular treatment option.

Sometimes your doctor may ask you to take part in a clinical trial, which is a research study to try out a new treatment, such as new anticancer drugs or drug combinations, or technique.

Making the right decision for you

Making a decision about treatment can be complex and frightening, but most people make complex decisions every day – often without realising it. Deciding which car to buy and where to live are also complex decisions, but most people make these decisions successfully many times during their life.

When deciding which treatment option is best for you, you can consider:

  • your personal and family needs
  • the expected outcomes of each treatment option
  • the likelihood that success or complications will occur.

Doctors and other health practitioners know a lot about the treatments they recommend, but only you know about your lifestyle, the demands of your job and family and your personal needs and preferences. That is why you should participate in decision-making about your health care.

Your medical specialists will work with medical social workers, nurse specialists and psychologists to provide support during the difficult period of decision making, and during and after therapy.