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SOURCE The BC5 Project
Who, What, Where, When and Why
NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Many women think that once a breast cancer diagnosis is made, the hardest part is over. But when initial shock has subsided, there are important decisions to be made, and digesting the often complicated information about treatment options can be overwhelming. Acknowledging that the doctor/patient conversation can cause anxiety – which sometimes makes it difficult to think clearly – The BC5 Project, a consortium recently organized to broaden awareness of breast cancer treatment options, consulted with breast cancer expert Dr. Peter Beitsch for advice on the best way to handle these conversations.
Dr. Beitsch is an oncology surgeon at Medical City Dallas Hospital and has received several honors and awards for his extensive work in breast cancer prevention and treatment. He advises a strategy to help patients remember the questions to ask. He recommends organizing one's thoughts into an easy-to-remember, 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When and Why.
Who will be the team of doctors assigned to my care? Patients should know that typically it's not just a surgeon or oncologist outlining the recommended course of treatment but a team that includes various specialists. Together they evaluate the tumor and determine the best treatment course. Find out who they are. If you can, request to meet them to make sure you're comfortable with them.
What type of treatment is recommended? Know your options. There are pluses and minuses to all medical procedures. Every treatment is customized to the patient. Make sure you do extensive research and talk at length to your doctors so you fully understand the ramifications of each option.
Where does the treatment take place? The location and environment are important. You want to make sure the setting is comfortable and the site as convenient as possible.
When would the treatment take place, how often and for how long? These are all important things to consider when making your decision. Consider your lifestyle and daily demands. Dr. Beitsch reminds women: "We need to take into account not just the cancer, but the patient. We can't compromise on the cancer treatment, of course, but all things being equal between options, convenience is important."
Why is this the treatment that is being recommended? This is perhaps the most important of all the questions. Understand the relevance of the treatment to your personal diagnosis. Is it the most effective treatment for my type of cancer? Again, do your research. Seek multiple opinions. And talk to other women who have had similar diagnoses and chose the same treatment path recommended for you.
About The BC5 Project
The BC5 Project is a recently formed group of representatives of the corporate and academic communities as well as practicing physicians who share a common goal: to ensure that all women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer are well-informed about their treatment options. For more information visit www.bc5project.com.
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