Before you have any treatment your doctor will explain the aims of the treatment to you and you will usually be asked to sign a form saying that you give your permission (consent) for the hospital staff to treat you. No medical treatment can be given without your consent, and before you are asked to sign the form you should have been given full information about:
- the type and extent of the treatment you are advised to have
- the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment
- any other treatments that may be available
- any significant risks or side effects of the treatment.
If you do not understand what you have been told, let the staff know straight away so that they can explain again. Some cancer treatments are complex, so it is not unusual for people to need their treatment to be explained more than once.
Patients often feel that the hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it is important for you to be aware of how the treatment is likely to affect you and the staff should be willing to make time for you to ask questions.
You can always ask for more time to decide about the treatment, if you feel that you canít make a decision when it is first explained to you. You are also free to choose not to have the treatment. The staff can explain what may happen if you do not have it. It is essential to tell a doctor, or the nurse in charge, so that they can record your decision in your medical notes. You do not have to give a reason for not wanting to have treatment, but it can be helpful to let the staff know your concerns so that they can give you the best advice.
Talking about treatment
Remember to ask questions about any aspects of your treatment that you donít understand or you feel worried about. You may find it helpful to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each option with your cancer specialist, a specialist gynaecological nurse at the hospital or with the Cancer Backup trained nurses.
If you have any questions about your treatment, donít be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse. It often helps to make a list of questions and to take a close friend or relative with you