Making treatment decisions

One of the first things your doctor will want to discuss with you after a cancer diagnosis, is what your treatment options are and their recommended approach.


In recommending treatment, your doctors will consider several factors, such as:

  • the type of cancer
  • where it started in your body and whether it has spread to other areas
  • your overall health and age
  • what treatments are currently available

They will also consult with you, to discuss any preferences you may have.


It can be difficult to make decisions and whilst it may seem like it is all happening rather quickly, don't be afraid to ask all the questions you need to. Gather as much information as you can, you may also like to take a family member or friend with you to appointments, for support as well as to help take any notes and remember what is discussed.


To find out more about specific types of cancer treatment, head here.


If you find yourself in the position of needing to make a quick decision regarding your treatment, please do ask your doctor if you could have a little more time to consider your options.



The following are some some practical things you can do to assist you with making decisions about your treatment:

  • Write down the advantages and disadvantages of the options available to you, and weigh them up.
  • If you are only offered one treatment option, ask if other treatments may be an option.
  • Find out more about the treatment types you're being offered - research here in the Online Community, call 13 11 20 or talk to your family and friends.
  • Talk to someone who has had the same treatment you might be considering, via our Cancer Connect program.
  • If you're not happy with anything you're told or how it is conveyed, make sure you communicate this with your doctor or treating hospital/centre.

Remember, you have the right to refuse any treatment offered, as well as to request a second opinion. Some people are happy to accept the recommendations of their doctors, whilst others want to make sure that all the benefits of the proposed treatment outweighs the the possible side effects as well as benefits to their quality of life.

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Last update:
September 2020
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