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We define the location of disease, given the desire to target the best time or type of cancer treatment.
So Now that we have talked about what clinical trials are, how do you decide if at any given time it is the right decision? I would encourage you to think about these different pieces
Multidisciplinacy Holistic care of the patient to try to relieve suffering
It is a common response to the loss of control, the uncertainty of the results and implications. Sometimes the physical experience (close quarters, drinking the contrast, IV placement).
Bring imaging discs with you if possible
Making A New Treatment Decision
Making A New Treatment
Rachel Yung, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Our time today
• When is it time for new treatment?
• How do I make a decision?
– Shared decision making
– What are my options?
• Standard therapies
• Clinical trials
• Intensive symptom management & palliative care
• Goals, trade offs, expected/possible benefits
When is the right time to make a
change in treatment?
1) When the cancer treatment isn’t working any
2) When the side effects of the treatments
outweigh the benefits (Quality of Life)
Shared Decision Making
“An approach where clinicians and patients
share the best available evidence when faced
with the task of making decisions, and where
patients are supported to consider options, to
achieve informed preferences.”
Elwyn et al 2010
How do I make a decision about
• Communicate about what is most important to you
(which can change)
• Goals of treatment:
– Effectiveness against cancer
– Minimize side effects from treatment
• Body effects: Hair loss, nausea, fatigue
• Life effects: Schedule, monitoring, finances
• Strategizing about ordering of treatments
– Use a treatment as long as it is working and it is tolerable
What are clinical trials?
• Research evaluating novel agents or a new uses of approved
– Supportive treatments
• Acupuncture, supportive medications
• Goal is to identify new/better treatments
– less toxicity
– more effective
• Shifting paradigms
– From last ditch to front line
Some Clinical Trial “Lingo”
• Phase of trials
Phase I : safety of promising agents
Phase II : evaluating efficacy
Phase III : proving efficacy
– Subtype of disease
– Prior Lines of therapy
– Location of disease (bones, organs, brain)
Is a clinical trial right for me?
• Potential benefits: Effectiveness
• General feelings about clinical trials
• Side effects
• Schedule of treatment/monitoring
• Financial issues
• How it effects your treatment options for
further lines of treatment
Communicating your priorities
• Common Fears
– Losing control
– Experiencing pain, fatigue, nausea
– Losing the ability to do daily activities
– Changing appearances
– Financial concerns
– Participation in an important life event
– Quality of life, symptom management
• Information gathering
– Asking about prognosis
– Asking about options
Goals: If your health situation worsens, what are your most
Fears: What are your biggest fears and worries about the
future with your health?
Function: What abilities are so critical that you can’t imaging
living without them?
Trade offs: If you become sicker, how much are you willing to go
through for the possibility of gaining more time?
Family: How much does your family know about your
priorities and wishes?
Talking about side effects and
Reasons that patients may not discuss side effects:
– Not explicitly asked
– Fear of stopping medication/dose reductions if honest
– Feeling that it isn’t important enough to discuss
Reasons you should discuss side effects:
– Often treatments to mitigate
– Better treatment
– Better quality of life
What is Palliative care?
Palliative care is an approach that improves
the quality of life of patients and their families
facing the problem associated with life-
threatening illness, through the prevention
and relief of suffering by means of early
identification and impeccable assessment and
treatment of pain and other problems,
physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
World Health Organization
Who is palliative care?
• PPC doctors
• Acute pain doctors
• Physical therapists
• Social workers
• Definition: anxiety surrounding scans and results
• Recognizing what particular issues are anxiety provoking
– Anticipation before scans
– The actual scans
– Waiting on results after
• Methods to manage Scanxiety:
– Make a plan with your clinical team
– Timing of scans, apts, how results will be shared
– Distraction (music), Mindfulness, Support
– Social Worker support
– Open communication with doctors
For persons who share care with
• Through Embrace, we are working to improve
2-way communication with local oncologists
• Ideal timing for repeat consultations at DFCI
– When you anticipate a treatment change
• There are a lot of options for treatment of
advanced breast cancer
• Know thyself
• Communication with your providers is key
• Shared decision making is standard