What choices can I make about my treatment?

Your oncologist and others in your treatment team will discuss your treatment options with you. Your views and preferences are very important, as your treatment may affect your daily life.

Choices you can be involved in include:

  • Which treatments you’ll receive
  • When to begin, pause or stop a particular treatment
  • What additional care and support you would like
  • Where you would like to receive your treatment

Do I have to be involved in decisions?

Some people prefer to leave treatment choices solely up to their treatment team, while others want to be very involved. How involved you want to be may change over time. Your treatment team should support your preference.

What’s important is that you have the information and support you need to be as involved in your treatment decisions as you’d like.

How do I weigh up my options?

Working out what your preferences are and making decisions about your treatment might be difficult. You may have complex choices to make, for example balancing the length of your life against the side effects of treatments.

It’s important you share your views and preferences with your treatment team, so they can provide the right care for you. The tips below may help.

Tips and advice

Advice on getting the best care

To help you feel confident you’re getting the best care, you may want to:

  • Ask your treatment team to explain your diagnosis, and how your cancer might respond to treatment
  • Consider the most important aspects of your life, and how treatment might affect these
  • Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of each treatment option, and to explain why they think a particular approach is best
  • Make sure you’re given the time and information you need to think things through fully
  • Talk to your family, friends and other people with secondary breast cancer
  • Seek support from your nurse and patient support groups
  • Ask for any additional support or counselling you need to help you make choices, explore your preferences or address any anxiety you have

Information StandardInformation last reviewed: October 2015

Next review due: October 2018

Breast Cancer Now's health information is covered by NHS England's Information Standard quality mark. Find out how this resource was developed.