What is a treatment option, anyway?

A treatment option is a medicine or therapy to treat your problem. A treatment option may be a pill, a shot, exercise, or an operation (surgery). It could involve sessions with a counselor or changes in diet. It could even be a combination of things.

The process of fully exploring your options starts with asking your doctor questions about your diagnosis or condition. The next step is a full discussion about the available treatments – including the concerns you have about options and which options might be best for you.

It may seem okay to follow the first treatment your doctor suggests and then wait to see if it works. But if you take the time to talk to your doctor about all your treatment options, you may find one that works better for you.

How can knowing your treatment options improve your life?

You might feel better – not only about your health problem but also about your treatment choice and your part in decision making. Telling your doctor what is important to you can help you find the best medical care and improve your quality of life.

Talking about treatment options may help you find:

  • A treatment or medical test that could work best for you.
  • A treatment with fewer side effects.
  • A treatment that’s better for your budget.
  • Better control over your health care.

Some people feel nervous about asking their doctor questions. Remember: You know more about your body, your health, and what’s important to you than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Health care can be confusing

Whether you are just starting treatment or your treatment is already underway, it is never too late to take an active role in your health care.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/options/.

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