Treatment Plan:10 questions every patient needs to ask.

A Cancer Treatment Plan is the furthest thing from your mind as you juggle work, family, friends, and a million other things in your day to day living.

Then you go for a routine cancer screening test or maybe you just go to your doctor because you feel something isn’t right. Your results come back and your doctor utters those three terrifying words: “You have cancer”.

You feel sad. You feel angry. Why me? You don’t want to die. How long do I have? I don’t want to leave my family. How much pain will I suffer? Who can help me? What can I do to make this nightmare go away?

Well, the good news is that there’s a lot you can do and it starts with taking control of your health and becoming your own advocate. Studies suggest that people who take control of their physical, mental, and spiritual health tend to live longer. 

Your Cancer Treatment Plan

Once you know exactly what type and stage cancer you have, it is vitally important going forward that you are completely confident with both the course of treatment recommended by your medical team and also the doctors who will oversee those treatments. The following questions can help tease out those issues:

  1. Which course of treatments do you recommend – and why?
    Remember, you will only be offered conventional treatments (chemo etc) at your local hospital despite there being proven alternatives out there. That’s because the pharma industry lobbied/paid to have laws passed in many countries that only allow the use of these highly profitable one-size-fits-all treatments.
  2. Are these treatments intended to be curative, life-extending, or palliative?
    Curative treatment is aimed at achieving a complete remission and preventing the recurrence of cancer. Life-extending treatment aims to prolong survival but the survival would not be long enough to be classed as a cure. Palliative treatment is aimed at promoting quality of life regardless of other outcomes (e.g. survival). Source
  3. It treatment intent is curative, can you show me proof that these treatments will prolong my life?
    Ask to see a few studies that have shown this treatment prolongs survival when directly compared to other treatments or no treatment at all. Studies showing that the treatment will shrink the tumor or increase progression-free-survival may not prolong overall survival by a single day and are, therefore, of no relevance.
  4. What are the possible serious side effects from the treatments you recommend?
    Ask for the full list of long-term as well as short-term side-effects you may suffer. All too often treatment side-effects are down-played but Radiation can cause lung and heart disease and stroke. Chemotherapy can cause lung disease, heart attacks and more than trebles the risk of leukaemia.
  5. What will you be doing to treat my cancer stem cells, since chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery do not target these and can, in fact, stimulate their proliferation?
    Cancer Stem Cells have the capacity for sustained self-renewal. While chemo and radiation may kill most of the cells in the tumor those that are not eradicated – like cancer stem cells – may lead to regrowth or recurrence of the tumor either at the primary site or at distant sites. Cancer stem cells also contribute to metastasis.
  6. Will these treatments cause secondary cancers?
    Approximately 19% of cancers diagnosed today occur among individuals with a history of previous malignancy. Substantial evidence demonstrates that primary cancer treatments, including both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, contribute to the burden of second cancers according to this study
  7. Which Complementary therapies do you recommend along with your proposed course of treatment ?
    Complementary cancer therapies comprise a wide range of techniques, supplements and products that are used in addition to standard and alternative cancer treatments. They are used to reduce treatment side-effects and pain, improve treatment, and prolong overall survival.
  8. Should I change my diet or take any vitamins, minerals or other supplements?
    This simple question will tell you immediately if this physician is up to date with the latest findings about cancer. There are hundreds of studies from all over the world that have shown dietary changes and supplements have a direct effect on many types of cancer. If your oncologist doesn’t know this he/she may not be right for you.
  9. What would be the “down-side” of trying an alternative therapy before starting the conventional treatments you’re recommending? 
    Ask for proof. Alternative cancer treatments are used in place of Conventional treatments like chemo. Most alternative treatments (Antineoplastons, Gerson therapy, Gonzalez Protocol etc) are only available in private cancer treatment centres but a few (e.g. Cannabis Oil) can be self-administered at home.
  10. I’d like a Second Opinion – who do you recommend?
    Ask for the name of another doctor who could give you a second opinion about either your diagnosis (especially if the diagnosis resulted from routine screening) or any proposed Cancer Treatment Plan. Most doctors fully understand the value of a second opinion and are not offended when patients seek one.

Here is a full list of questions covering everything from getting tested to each type of treatment.

Be involved in all decisions that affect you.

Ask questions as if your life depends on the answers…it does.
 about your cancer and all available treatment options as early as possible.
Ask your team how to contact them between appointments if you have any questions that need answers quickly.
Talk to your team about your worries or concerns.

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

That’s it.

Please share this page to help others

Leave a Reply