Treatment Options From 5 Experts on Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Therapy for HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer: An Online Tool

Frankie Ann Holmes, MD, FACP
Sara Hurvitz, MD, FACP
Joyce O'Shaughnessy, MD
Mark Pegram, MD
Denise A. Yardley, MD
Released: March 19, 2019

How to Talk to Your Oncologist

As doctors and researchers learn more about how cancer works, the number of treatment options for cancer has grown. These advances benefit patients by providing more treatment options to choose from and by increasing how long people with cancer live. However, more treatment choices can also make decisions about how best to treat your cancer more complex, with oncologists and other physicians facing the challenge of keeping up with the flood of new information. To assist you in this process, we have developed a PDF consultation checklist that you can print and fill out with your oncologist.

Considering all of this new information, you can help your oncology care team by seeking out the most reliable and current information about your particular cancer and sharing it with them. By doing so, you can become their partner in developing the best treatment plan for you as an individual instead of being a bystander in your cancer care.

To do this, you need to:

  1. Pay close attention to the source of any information you find, particularly on the Internet. You should think about the qualifications and motivation of the person or company providing the information. Well-trained experts or very knowledgeable patients and caregivers connected to a cancer nonprofit organization should often be given more weight than less-expert people who are selling a product. Reliable and credible health-related Web sites will almost always have information of who is responsible for the information on the Web page.
  2. There are no rules as to what can be written on Web sites. If something seems unreliable, trust your instincts and try to find a second or even third Web site or source to check your findings. In general, the more evidence you find, the more reliable the finding. Seek evidence beyond mere “case reports” of a single person or a few people who happened to do well on products being sold on the Internet.
  3. Always be mindful of the truism that if something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. There are no easy answers to difficult questions such as how to best treat cancer and any treatment or supplement should be discussed with your doctor before being used.

Not knowing how much you understand about your cancer diagnosis and its treatment may make it difficult for your oncologist to know where to start the discussion with you unless you (or your caregiver) begin the conversation. Bringing any information you find online and having a list of questions that are specific to your case can help your oncologist know where to start. Communicate your goals, fears, and concerns; do not be afraid to tell your doctor what you want out of your treatment or to ask for any information you want to know about your care. Most often you will find that they are more than willing to accept you into a decision making partnership.


Disclaimer: Access to and use of this Interactive Decision Support Tool titled, “Treatment Options From 5 Experts on Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Therapy for HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer,” is provided subject to the following terms and conditions. PLEASE READ THESE TERMS CAREFULLY.

The “Treatment Options From 5 Experts on Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Therapy for HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer” Interactive Decision Support Tool is designed to educate patients on optimal regimens for HER2+ early breast cancer, based on specific patient and disease characteristics. The information provided is based on the expert guidance of breast cancer experts Frankie Ann Holmes, MD, FACP; Sara Hurvitz, MD, FACP; Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD; Mark D. Pegram, MD; and Denise A. Yardley, MD.

Although the information contained in the “Treatment Options From 5 Experts on Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Therapy for HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer” Interactive Decision Support Tool has been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability, or usefulness of any information. Patients should always discuss their healthcare decisions with their oncology care team. This disclaimer applies to both the isolated and aggregate uses of the information. Clinical Care Options provides this information on an as-is basis. This disclaimer applies to all data on the Clinical Care Options Web site including but not limited to medical information or opinions. All warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, freedom from contamination by computer viruses, and noninfringement of proprietary rights are disclaimed.

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Jointly provided by Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and Clinical Care Options, LLC
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