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Making decisions about treatment for advanced cancer

Read about making treatment decisions when you have advanced cancer.

Treatment depends on:

  • the size of the cancer and where it is in the body
  • the treatment you have already had
  • your general health

To shrink your cancer or slow its growth, and relieve symptoms your doctor might recommend:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • a biological therapy such as trastuzumab (Herceptin)

Or they might suggest specific treatments such as laser therapy or putting a tube into your stomach, depending on the symptoms you have.

Your doctor might offer you a choice of treatments. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment with them and ask how they can control any side effects. This helps you make the right decision for you. You also need to think about the other factors involved in each treatment, such as:

  • whether you need extra appointments
  • if you need more tests
  • the distance you need to travel to and from hospital

You might have to make further choices as your situation changes. It helps to find out as much as possible each time. You can stop a treatment whenever you want to if you find it too much to cope with.

You may decide not to have cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. But you can still have medicines to help control symptoms, such as sickness or pain.

Your doctor or nurse will explain what could help you. You can also ask them to refer you to a local symptom control team to give you support at home.

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.