How can I talk to my doctor about my health?

Ongoing conversations about your disease progression and personal goals of care will help you and your physician get on the same page about treatment options. Only through open, honest and timely discussions can you make informed decisions about which types of treatment will or won’t be beneficial, and whether or not you wish to pursue them.

If your goals of care are to be as aggressive as possible in fighting your disease, the course of treatment you pursue will be very different from the person who is choosing comfort care. And, while you may want to do everything possible to cure your disease in its early stages, you could eventually grow weary of treatment—or determine it is no longer working—and opt for non-curative care that will enhance your quality of life.     

Don’t be afraid to speak up when meeting with your doctor. If the two of you become accustomed to having open conversations about your prognosis and your wishes, it will be much easier to address difficult subjects as your disease progresses. Understand your options and the benefits of specialized end-of-life care.

Understand the importance of having earlier conversations about your options for treatment.