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11. Making Choices

If I go as a private patient from the start of my treatment, will I get better care and a better range of treatment choices?

Generally you will get equally good treatment and care within the NHS. In some regional cancer centers you may find a wider range of NHS services than are available privately.

Private care may offer such benefits as always seeing your consultant at appointments, and getting to know a smaller team of staff. The majority of staff on teams offering private care also works within the NHS. It is a good idea to check that a private hospital has been approved as a breast unit.

If I am undecided about treatment or not satisfied with my treatment can I get a second opinion?

Yes. Many breast unit teams will positively encourage you in seeking a second opinion. Discuss this with your hospital doctor. You will need a letter of referral to another specialist from either your current specialist or family doctor.

If your hospital doctor is unhappy about your request, see your family doctor who can also refer you on for another opinion. Most doctors are sympathetic in this situation. They understand that when faced with a diagnosis of cancer everyone wants to have the best treatment for themselves or their family.

I don’t want any more treatment. Can I refuse what the doctor offers?

You can refuse any treatment at any time; the decision is yours. Your doctor will respect your wishes and you may find it helpful to talk it through with a breast care nurse. This is also one of the times when some people decide to explore different complementary therapies.

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