Questions to Ask About Treatment
You need to understand the goals, potentials risks and benefits of each of your ependymoma treatment options. Only by considering the likely outcomes of each option can you make informed decisions based on your personal goals, values and preferences.
Consider posing these questions about ependymoma treatment options to your physician:
- What is the goal of the treatment for my ependymoma? Will it cure my ependymoma slow the progression of my disease, prevent a recurrence and/or relieve neurological symptoms? Discuss your goals with your doctor. Two patients with the same type and grade of ependymoma and the same prognosis might have different ependymoma treatment goals. One may prefer to take greater risks to cure the ependymoma, even if the odds of a cure are small. The other might opt for taking fewer risks with the goal of stabilizing rather than curing. Physicians also differ in their risk-taking preferences, so make sure you and your doctors agree on ependymoma treatment goals.
- What are the benefits? Ask your doctor to share statistics for rate of cure, progression-free survival, rate of remission, disease-free survival and overall survival for each ependymoma treatment option.
- What are the short-term risks, potential for side effects or complications and likelihood of fatality from the ependymoma treatment?
- What are the long-term risks? Although rare, there may be a risk of developing a second cancer or developing a serious medical problem such as heart, lung or kidney disease.
- How will the treatment affect my lifestyle including work and family responsibilities?
- How much time and travel will be involved? Where is the best place to receive my ependymoma treatment, how long will it last and will I have to travel long distances?
- What future ependymoma treatment options could be affected?
- What are the benefits and risks of not having treatment for my ependymoma?
If you would like additional guidance about what questions to ask your medical team before beginning treatment, contact us. Additionally, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and connect with other patients, caregivers and medical providers.