How to Discuss Your Goals of Care With Your Cancer Care Team: An Expert Discussion

October 17, 2023
Brielle Gregory Collins, ASCO staff

Meaningful Conversations is a Cancer.Net blog series that describes the important discussions people may need to have with their providers, caregivers, and loved ones during cancer and offers ways to help navigate these conversations.

Discussing the goals of your care with your cancer care team is a crucial part of developing your treatment plan. By discussing the goals of your care, you ensure that you and your health care providers are aligned on what is important to you throughout your cancer experience.

In this podcast, Lalan Wilfong, MD, talks with Lydia Mills, MSW, LCSW, LICSW, about what people with cancer should know when discussing their goals of care with the health care team, including tips for navigating this conversation, who should be involved, and what to expect.

  • What does it mean when we talk about "goals of care" during cancer? [02:12]

  • Why is having a conversation around the goals of care important for people with cancer? [03:15]

  • When should a conversation about goals of care take place? [05:43]

  • What can someone with cancer expect when having a conversation about goals of care? What will typically be discussed? [07:11]

  • How can people with cancer prepare to discuss their goals of care with the health care team? [8:53]

  • What is the role of family members and caregivers during a conversation about goals of care? [10:28]

  • Which members of the health care team are usually involved in conversations around goals of care? [12:07]

  • How can people with cancer start a discussion around goals of care if their health care provider has not already done so? [14:52]

  • What questions should people with cancer ask during a discussion around goals of care? [16:24]

Dr. Wilfong is a medical oncologist and the senior vice president of payer and care transformation at the U.S. Oncology Network. He is also a member of the 2023 Cancer.Net Editorial Board. Ms. Mills is a licensed clinical social worker and the senior manager of supportive care services at the U.S. Oncology Network.

View disclosure information for Dr. Wilfong and Ms. Mills.

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