Tips for Asking Your Doctor About Alternative Cancer Treatments

If the diagnosis is cancer, chances are you and your doctor want to take a pretty aggressive approach to remove it and make sure it’s gone for good. That’s wise, however, there are sometimes when the more aggressive approach is more aggressive than necessary for the condition at hand. There are procedures in some cases that can preserve your quality of life while still proving extremely effective at eradicating cancer. The key is knowing about them, when to ask about them, and how to find an oncologist skilled in performing alternative treatments effectively when they’re indicated.

Common cancers such as prostate and breast, for example, do have alternative treatment methods that preserve the body inasmuch as possible while targeting the cancer directly. If your doctor hasn’t discussed all the alternatives with you, here are some tips to open the lines of communication:

• Play an active role in treatment discussions – Do your homework to understand the type of cancer you have and all the options for treating it. Ask about recommendations and don’t be afraid to step back to formulate questions about procedures.

• Ask for alternative options – If your doctor is recommending prostate removal, for example, ask about seed implant therapy and if that would be right in your case. Breast cancer patients, too, may discover mammosite therapy could work in their case, especially in the early stages of the disease. If your doctor won’t discuss these therapies, seek out a second opinion. It may be that your cancer has progressed too far, or it could be your doctor doesn’t perform these lifesaving procedures.

• Be open and honest about everything – You and your doctor make a team when it comes to fighting cancer. Be sure to answer questions thoroughly and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Never be afraid to questions.

Your doctor’s job is to treat the cancer and do his or her part to ensure it never returns. With that in mind, an aggressive approach is likely. There are alternative treatments, however, that can have exceptional results. Don’t be afraid to ask about them and seek out second opinions to see if they might be the right choice in your particular case.

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