4 Reasons Why It's Important to be Informed About Your Cancer

by Brittany McNabb

If you are informed about your cancer diagnosis, it may be easier to follow your treatment plan, take your medications, and be an active advocate for your health. You may know what cancer is, what type you have, and maybe the stage, but how much do you really know about your cancer?

Be Informed About Your Cancer

In a new study published in the journal  Cancer, a physician at a cancer institute revealed that out of 500 breast cancer patients, only 20-58% of women could specify their tumor characteristics accurately. This same physician says that, 

"Improving patients' understanding about why a particular treatment is important for her individual situation may lead to more informed decisions and better adherence to treatment."

There seems to be a need for better patient education. This means physicians (if they aren't already) providing more information to their patients and patients being active participants in their care plan. Unfortunately, you cannot make someone else care about understanding their diagnosis, but you can encourage them. Here are 4 reasons why it is important to be informed about your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan. 

When you are informed about your cancer you may...

1. Find It Easier to Stick to Your Cancer Treatment Plan

Have Confidence In Your Physicians

If you are informed about your treatment plan then you will understand why every step is important. Every scan, consultation, appointment, and prescription medication will have a specific purpose to you and therefore may make it easier to adhere to following each.

2. Communicate Better With Your Physicians 

Prostate Exams

It is not easy to communicate and discuss something you do not understand. Sometimes the conflict that takes place between doctors and patients is caused by confusion. If you know the details about your cancer, type, surgery, outcomes, side effects, and are informed in all aspects than you will most likely have a successful dialogue with your doctor and care team.

3. Be Invested in Your Overall Health

Make Better Choices About Your Health

If you know and understand the details of your cancer plan, it may help you to be invested in your overall picture of health. If you are actively participating in your cancer treatment, that means you are going to appointments, taking medications, and doing your part by trying to stay healthy. This could lead to eating better, being more active, trying to get more rest, and being deliberate about other health habits.

4. Advocate for Yourself

Find Hope In Overall Cancer Plan

It is important to be informed so that you can advocate for yourself. Remember, this is your health everyone is talking about. If you are involved in your cancer treatment plan then you can ask the right questions, understand side effects, and demand the best care.

For some people, the more you know about something, the more you believe in it. Understanding information on your cancer and the specifics of your treatment plan could help you feel more hope towards the end goal. If you are feeling hopeless, consider asking your doctor for more material, writing a list of questions to ask that may help you better understand the goals, seek information from reliable sources like The American Cancer Society, and post questions for other WhatNexters.

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