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Informed Treatment Decision
Making
Addressing the Emotional Rollercoaster
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Breaking Decision
Making into Parts
• Knowledge
• Values
• Support
• Needs to Move
Forward
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Collaborative Process
• Medical professionals have information
and expertise on the medical options,
potential side effects and strategies for
managing side effects.
• You have wisdom and expertise on your
own body, the activities and lifestyle
choices that matter a great deal to you.
• Your family & loved ones have insight
and a perspective about your life and
how treatment impacts you.
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Step One: Clarify
the Decision
• Determine where you are
in the decision-making
process.
• What are the reasons for
making the decision. What
brings you to this point?
• What is the timeframe
around this decision?
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Step Two: Gather
Information
• Cancer subtypes
• Stage of cancer
• Personal factors
• Genetic information
• Treatment Options
• Other Tests available
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Thinking Critically
About The Options:
Where are these options coming from?
• Established treatment guidelines based on research and
used throughout the country.
What about new scientific developments?
• Ask about and learn more about clinical trials and
eligibility requirements.
Beyond my oncology team, where can I learn more?
• Reputable websites and organizations to research in
more depth.
• National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) –
www.nccn.org
• SHARE Cancer Support – www.sharecancersupport.org
• Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance – www.ocrahope.org
• Ovarcome – www.overcome.org
• Foundation for Women’s Cancer –
www.foundationforwomenscancer.org
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Seeking Second
Opinions:
WHY?
• A desire to learn more or “cover all the bases”.
• Communicating with your doctor is hard and you
want your options explained by someone else.
• Seeking confirmation of the treatment options
presented to you by your current team.
• The opportunity to connect with someone who
specializes or is involved in research for your cancer
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Making Space
for all options
Palliative Care: Goal to improve
quality of life by addressing
symptom management. Can be
offered at any point along the
treatment trajectory.
Hospice Care: Goal to provide
compassionate care in the last
stages of a disease so that someone
can live as fully and comfortably as
possible.
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Identify Pros
& Cons
• What do you know about the
reasons to choose an option
(benefits)?
• What do you know about the
reasons to avoid an option
(side effects, risks)?
• Consider the benefits and
risks from many angles:
medically, physical health,
mental health, personal
factors…
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND
What matters to you?
• Review your Pro & Con lists and
place a value (1-5) on each point.
• What benefits are most important
TO YOU?
• What risks do YOU most want to
avoid?
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Who is involved in this
decision?
• Who else has an opinion that adds value to this
process?
• Who has knowledge that can help provide
information?
• Will anyone be impacted by your decision? How
much does that influence your choice?
• Is anyone pressuring your one way or another?
• Could others support you in any specific way?
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
Are there any gaps?
“Decisional conflict”
• Do you have enough information to make a choice?
• Do you know where to get more information?
• Are you clear about what benefits and risks matter
most to you?
• What type of unknown feels easier to tolerate?
• Have you connected with others who have a
personal understanding of this type of decision?
• Do you know the logistical next steps involved with
moving forward?
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
After the
Decision is Made
• Outline how to discuss decision
with medical team and loved ones.
• Revisit and review the values
identified that helped you come to
a decision.
• Maintain open communication and
an ongoing dialogue with
important individuals
• Continue to list questions and
address them regularly with your
team
Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com

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Let's Talk About It: Ovarian Cancer (The Emotional Toll of Treatment Decision Making)

  • 1. Informed Treatment Decision Making Addressing the Emotional Rollercoaster Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 2. Breaking Decision Making into Parts • Knowledge • Values • Support • Needs to Move Forward Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 3. Collaborative Process • Medical professionals have information and expertise on the medical options, potential side effects and strategies for managing side effects. • You have wisdom and expertise on your own body, the activities and lifestyle choices that matter a great deal to you. • Your family & loved ones have insight and a perspective about your life and how treatment impacts you. Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 4. Step One: Clarify the Decision • Determine where you are in the decision-making process. • What are the reasons for making the decision. What brings you to this point? • What is the timeframe around this decision? Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 5. Step Two: Gather Information • Cancer subtypes • Stage of cancer • Personal factors • Genetic information • Treatment Options • Other Tests available Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 6. Thinking Critically About The Options: Where are these options coming from? • Established treatment guidelines based on research and used throughout the country. What about new scientific developments? • Ask about and learn more about clinical trials and eligibility requirements. Beyond my oncology team, where can I learn more? • Reputable websites and organizations to research in more depth. • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) – www.nccn.org • SHARE Cancer Support – www.sharecancersupport.org • Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance – www.ocrahope.org • Ovarcome – www.overcome.org • Foundation for Women’s Cancer – www.foundationforwomenscancer.org Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 7. Seeking Second Opinions: WHY? • A desire to learn more or “cover all the bases”. • Communicating with your doctor is hard and you want your options explained by someone else. • Seeking confirmation of the treatment options presented to you by your current team. • The opportunity to connect with someone who specializes or is involved in research for your cancer Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 8. Making Space for all options Palliative Care: Goal to improve quality of life by addressing symptom management. Can be offered at any point along the treatment trajectory. Hospice Care: Goal to provide compassionate care in the last stages of a disease so that someone can live as fully and comfortably as possible. Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 9. Identify Pros & Cons • What do you know about the reasons to choose an option (benefits)? • What do you know about the reasons to avoid an option (side effects, risks)? • Consider the benefits and risks from many angles: medically, physical health, mental health, personal factors… Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND
  • 10. What matters to you? • Review your Pro & Con lists and place a value (1-5) on each point. • What benefits are most important TO YOU? • What risks do YOU most want to avoid? Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 11. Who is involved in this decision? • Who else has an opinion that adds value to this process? • Who has knowledge that can help provide information? • Will anyone be impacted by your decision? How much does that influence your choice? • Is anyone pressuring your one way or another? • Could others support you in any specific way? Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 12. Are there any gaps? “Decisional conflict” • Do you have enough information to make a choice? • Do you know where to get more information? • Are you clear about what benefits and risks matter most to you? • What type of unknown feels easier to tolerate? • Have you connected with others who have a personal understanding of this type of decision? • Do you know the logistical next steps involved with moving forward? Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com
  • 13. After the Decision is Made • Outline how to discuss decision with medical team and loved ones. • Revisit and review the values identified that helped you come to a decision. • Maintain open communication and an ongoing dialogue with important individuals • Continue to list questions and address them regularly with your team Julie Larson, LCSW - www.julielarsonlcsw.com