Shared decision making is a collaborative process that allows patients and their healthcare team to make health-related decisions together. This process takes into consideration the most up-to-date clinical information and research, in addition to the patient’s goals, preferences, and values. This process brings experts together in the planning of your care – with the healthcare team as experts in medicine and breast cancer treatment, and you as in expert in your own personal feelings and what’s important to you. While you may not feel like an expert, you are an expert in you! It’s important to recognize that you have a voice in the decision-making process. While it is important to be involved in all aspects of your healthcare, to the level you are comfortable, shared decision making is most appropriate in situations where there is more than one medical option available.1
The process helps to ensure that patients are fully informed of all of their options, including the risks and benefits of these options, and that the things that are most important to the patient are taken into consideration.
What questions should I ask?
After a breast cancer diagnosis, you may feel overwhelmed and in a daze. It can be hard to fully absorb all of the information that is being presented to you. Asking questions can help to ensure that you and your healthcare team are on the same page. Below are some questions that may help:
Each person and each case of breast cancer is different. What matters most is that you feel comfortable with your care team and your treatment plan! Asking questions is an important part of managing your care and ensuring you and your care team have decided on the best plan for you!
The questions you choose to ask will be unique to your situation; and, just as your needs and priorities may fluctuate, your questions may change over time. What questions have you found to be helpful? Share your thoughts and ideas with the community!
Why Shared Decision Making? 2017. Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. Available at: http://www.informedmedicaldecisions.org/shareddecisionmaking.aspx