When first diagnosed with breast cancer one is expected to make life altering decisions that will impact survivability and quality of life. As time goes on, the “survivors” are expected to monitor new trends in research and make treatment choices that improve their risk from recurrences and avoid long term harm from earlier treatments. Men and women who face recurrences must again make treatment choices that are truly life and death.
Most people will get information from their physicians. Some will learn from TV, radio, newspapers and magazine articles. Others will seek out the internet. We must ask ourselves, “What is the medical evidence that I can use to make decisions about my care?” Are one’s choices of treatment made on traditional or community standards, intuition or anecdotal information, or medical evidence?” If you can’t answer this question, ask your doctor. Treatment choices should be based on good medical evidence.
In surveying a source for medical evidence, consider the validity and reliability of the information. Claims for a scientific breakthrough, miraculous cure, secret ingredients or ancient remedies should make one suspicious. If a treatment claims to cure a wide range of illnesses or if it only is available at one source-beware. If treatment recommendations are based on testimony by physician or patients and not backed up by strong medical evidence-steer clear.
Where are the best guidelines for making and reviewing treatment choices? We have listed several reliable resources.