Day 8 – TREATMENT OPTIONS: THE CHOICE TO NOT TREAT YOUR LUNG CANCER
An intensely personal decision, NOT treating your cancer, at ANY point, is also a choice…. Please speak with your family, trusted advisors, and health care providers.
Now that we’ve looked at many types of traditional and non-traditional treatment options, as you might guess, there is also the option to NOT treat your Lung Cancer.
Every BODY responds to treatment a bit differently than anyone else. You and your cancer are unique. Chemotherapy can be rough (even very rough); it can ALSO be life-saving or life-prolonging, and possibly help manage your painful symptoms or potential symptoms! YOU HAVE CHOICES.
At any point on your journey, you have the right to not treat. In fact, you might have already made up your mind before diagnosis of ANY disease, saying something like: “I’m 127 years old, I’ve lived a fantastic life, I’ve ‘got my affairs in order’, my children and great-great-great-great grandchildren know I love them, and I’m ready to go to the good lord when he’s ready to have me”. Conversely, you might have decided that you will do everything medically and scientifically possible to extend your life or lessen your symptoms.
You may “sail through” and experience very few treatment side effects from your treatments, as co-author Jason’s mom experienced! (GO MOM!!) On the other hand, you might feel as though the treatment side effects are lessening your daily quality of life as you deal with cancer’s symptoms as well, as my daughter, Lauren, experienced. You may make the choice to manage and control your pain and symptoms, instead of treating for a cure, while you ‘get your affairs in order’ – and to take that bucket list trip to Alaska, too…
Your treatment goals and your decision might depend on a variety of factors:
Pain Your general health Stage of your cancer Your prognosis Finances Spirituality/religion How current treatments are working for you Age Symptoms & Side effects Impact on you and your family/friends Impact on your work Treatment challenges & benefits Your personal values
It is important to know that at any point you can make the choice to not treat, or stop treatment, for yourself. Loved ones and friends, even your health care team, may not agree with your decision, yet it is still your decision. You ALSO have the right to resume treatment, whether in the quest to cure, stabilize your tumors, or treat your pain and cancer’s other frequent symptoms! Staying informed of your care opportunities all the way along your journey will be key for your physical and emotional peace.
There is so much more for you to investigate regarding this discussion ~ hope and mindset, the ‘right to die’ debate, the importance of having an advocate, how to help your friends and family through their pain as they support you in your choices, what living with cancer or terminal cancer is really like, and more! I’m not an attorney, doctor or pharmaceutical rep, just a woman whose life has been touched by cancer and who wants to help you investigate and make informed decisions for your life, cancer, and care. 🙂
RESOURCES: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995268/, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-treatment/art-20047350, https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/talking-about-cancer/listen-with-your-heart/if-loved-one-refuses-treatment.html, and https://www.verywellhealth.com/when-should-you-stop-cancer-treatment-2249017