How to Talk About Advanced Cancer Care Planning: An Expert Discussion

November 20, 2023
Anna Schardt Baker

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.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to think about and plan for what could happen in the future. This is especially true if your cancer is advanced.

Talking about your health care wishes can be difficult, but doing so can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Advanced care planning will remove uncertainty and help your caregivers know your wishes if they ever need to make important health care decisions on your behalf.

In this podcast, Richard T. Lee, MD, FASCO, talks with Tara Sanft, MD, and Biren Saraiya, MD, about the treatment of advanced cancer, the role of palliative and supportive care, and how people with cancer can make their health care wishes known.

  • What does it mean to have advanced cancer? [03:46]

  • What treatment options are available for people with advanced cancer? [04:28]

  • What is palliative and supportive care? How is it different from hospice care? [07:58]

  • How can people with advanced cancer start a discussion around their emotional and spiritual health with their health care team? [10:22]

  • What is advanced cancer care planning? Why is it important for people with cancer? [13:34]

  • When and how should people with advanced cancer share their health care wishes? [14:58]

  • What should people with cancer consider when it comes to advanced care planning? [16:44]

  • What questions should people with advanced cancer ask when discussing their health care wishes with their health care team and loved ones? [21:07]

Dr. Richard T. Lee is a clinical professor and the Cherng Family Director's Chair, Center for Integrative Oncology, at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, CA. Dr. Tara Sanft is a breast medical oncologist at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, CT. Dr. Biren Saraiya is a medical oncologist and palliative care physician at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. All are members of the 2023 Cancer.Net Editorial Board

Dr. Lee, Dr. Sanft, and Dr. Saraiya have no relationships to disclose that are relevant to this content.

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