Self Advocacy

The purpose of the Illinois Valley BrCa Connection is to serve the breast cancer survivors of the Illinois Valley area by providing helpful information and resources.

When you are using this information, you will be better informed to make your health care decisions with your doctors. It is important that you are informed so that you can feel comfortable with your choices in doctors, treatment plan, and journey. You need to be part of the decision-making process with your doctors.

It is very important that you think about a few things prior to speaking with your doctors. At some point in your journey it will be important, if not necessary, for you to be aware of your concerns and your feelings.

  1. Plan on building a relationship with your physician so that you can be honest and open with him/her.
  2. Try to understand what you are feeling about your diagnosis and journey so that you can verbalize your feelings.
  3. Identify your personal priorities and preferences.
  4. Identify how your family situation impacts your care.
  5. Be able to describe symptoms and their personal significance.
  6. Be a good listener and be open to ideas from the physicians.
  7. Be ready to ask questions when you need to.
  8. Plan on communicating with your doctor so your care-plan is just that… Yours.

Realizing that everyone is different, here are some things that you can expect from your doctors.

  1. Professional, but personal.
  2. Demonstrates caring and respect for your information, thoughts, and feelings.
  3.  Demonstrates willingness to answer questions.
  4. Expects honesty in your answers.
  5. Seeks information, support, and advice from other professionals when appropriate.

(Lown BA , 2009)
[1] Lown, BA, Mutual influence in shared decision making: a collaborative study of patients and physicians. Health Expectations. 2009: (12) 160-174.

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