Over the last few weeks, we’ve been using our blog to help explain how to gather information and communicate effectively as a self-advocate. The culmination of this journey comes today as we explore how a self-advocate makes decisions.
The first and fundamental decision everyone diagnosed with cancer has to make is picking a treatment option. Whether your choices are many or few, the decision is never an easy one and always a deeply personal one. With that in mind, we put together this short fact sheet as a first step to thinking through whatever alternatives you have available. We also recommend this more detailed guide which takes a deeper dive into all the different factors affecting your decision and the resources which can give you individualized help. After gathering all the information you can, the decision-making stage relies much more on self-reflection and a consideration of your values and needs.
One treatment option many cancer patients have at their disposal is a clinical trial. We offer the resources to help you learn about clinical trials and explore which available trials could be most useful for your specific situation. People with any type and stage of cancer should take the time to explore this possibility. Even if your cancer is in remission, you can participate in trials which seek to improve your mental and physical health for the road ahead. Clinical trials are not ideal in every situation, but they are always worth looking into.
When you’re diagnosed with cancer, the tough decisions don’t end in the doctor’s office. Taking action in your cancer journey also includes taking care of yourself. There are steps you can take to improve your quality of life when living with cancer, and there are choices you can make to be as healthy as possible. Make yourself, your health and your well-being as high a priority as you can. To help you achieve this goal, we’ve put together a guide for leading a healthy lifestyle with cancer. Choosing to face cancer head-on is a decision which empowers you to still live your life your way in spite of the obstacles in your path.
This rounds up our month-long look at self-advocacy. We hope this series has given you some ideas for new ways to be a self-advocate during your cancer experience. Next week, we will begin looking at another type of advocacy – community advocacy – and will explore the ways you can take further steps in building a stronger cancer community wherever you are.