Making your decision

When making an important decision it can help to think about how you’ve made big decisions in the past. It can be difficult to make a decision about which cancer treatment to choose. You will be the one having treatment so you need to be happy with your choice. Ask more questions if need more information about each option. You might find it helpful to talk to your family and friends. They may be able to simplify things for you.

You could also try following these five steps, to help you make a decision:

  1. List the different options.
  2. Get the information about the options.
  3. List the pros and cons of each option.
  4. Narrow down the possible options.
  5. Make my decision.

There is no right or wrong decision. People have different priorities, concerns and circumstances that will mean they make different choices.

It’s important to remember that the decision you make is the right one for you at the time.

Making a decision

It can be difficult to make a decision about something that is very important. You may feel overwhelmed with all the information you've been given or may be influenced by relatives and friends.

It may help to think about how you approached big decisions in the past. Are you guided by your first impressions and instincts? Or do you usually need to think things through for a long time?

When you’ve thought about all the information you have, you may find it helpful to put it aside and try not to think about it for a couple of days. If you can, do something different to distract you from making the decision. If you need to decide fairly quickly, it may help to get a good night's sleep then make the decision the next day. Giving yourself a short break before making the decision may help you look at all the information with a fresh approach.


It’s your decision

It’s important to do what is right for you and not what you think other people want you to do. It’s easy to be influenced by the opinions of others, especially when they are very close to you. But you are the one who will be having the treatment, and you need to be satisfied that you’ve made the right decision at the time.

If your relatives or friends think that you’re making the wrong decision, explain your reasons to them. They may be happy to accept your decision once they know your reasons, but they may also have important points that you haven’t considered.


Make a list

To help you make your decision, you could write a list of the advantages and disadvantages (the pros and cons) of the treatment you’ve been offered.

Try to think about:

  • whether you need to stay in hospital
  • how often you’ll need to visit the hospital
  • the aim of the treatment
  • how successful the treatment is likely to be
  • the possible side effects
  • the effect on your family and social life
  • the effects on your work and finances.

These are just examples. What an advantage is to you, may not be to someone else.

It’s important to take time to make your decision. This will be hard if doctors want to start treatment soon. However, it’s important that you can think about the information you have and ask more questions if you need to.

To help you make your decision, you might find these five steps useful:

Making your decision
Making your decision

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If you can’t decide

Some people find it very difficult to make a decision. You may feel that you want your specialist to make the decision for you. If you’re having trouble deciding, talk to your family and friends. They may be able to simplify things for you. You can also make an appointment to see your doctor or specialist nurse as they may be able to tell you what they would recommend.


How do I know I've made the right choice?

There is no right or wrong decision. People have different priorities, concerns and circumstances and will make different choices.

The most important thing to remember is that the decision you make is the right one for you at the time. No one can tell you what is going to happen, and there will always be some uncertainty.

You may find you change your mind over time and how you feel now is different from how you felt a few weeks or months ago. It can also differ from how you may feel in the future.

As your situation changes, your choices may change too. The staff at the hospital will support you with decision-making and will respect the choices you make.

If the cancer comes back after having the treatment that you chose, don’t blame yourself. It’s possible that the cancer would have come back if you had chosen the other treatment option.

It is important to remember that you made the right decision at the time for all the right reasons, using the information you had available to you.

Back to Coming to your decision

Finding out your treatment options

Knowing basic information about your type of cancer and different treatments options can help you to make an informed treatment decision.