The Importance of Self Advocacy

Being a advocate for yourself while having cancer is not easy. While emotionally processing the diagnosis, the whirlwind of appointments, testing and incoming information can become quickly overwhelming. If there is ever a time in your life to be an advocate for yourself, this is it!! It is important throughout the journey however, getting on the right path from the beginning is of the utmost importance.

No two individuals are the same, and this applies to cancer treatment as well. By advocating for yourself, you ensure that your medical team understands your unique medical history, preferences, and concerns, which can lead to more personalized and effective treatment plans.

Being an active participant in your treatment decisions empowers you to understand the available options, potential risks, and benefits. This knowledge equips you to make informed choices that align with your values and goals.

Open and honest communication between you and your medical team is essential. Self-advocacy encourages you to express your questions, fears, and doubts, fostering a collaborative relationship with your healthcare providers.

Tips for Effective Self-Advocacy

Educate Yourself: Learn about your diagnosis, treatment options, and potential side effects. Reliable sources such as medical journals, reputable websites, and support groups can provide valuable information.

Prepare Questions: Before appointments, jot down questions and concerns you want to address with your healthcare team. This ensures that you cover all your important topics during your limited time together.

Bring a Support Person: Having a friend or family member accompany you to appointments can offer emotional support and help remember details discussed during the visit.

Speak Up: If you don't understand something, ask for clarification. If you have concerns about a recommended treatment, express them. Your voice matters in your treatment journey.

Second Opinions: Don't hesitate to seek a second opinion, especially for major decisions. Different perspectives can provide a more comprehensive view of your options.

Keep Records: Maintain a folder with your medical records, test results, and treatment plans. This helps you stay organized and provides a clear picture of your journey.

Advocate for Support Services: If you need additional assistance, such as counseling, nutrition advice, or palliative care, speak up and ask for these services.

Trust Your Instincts: You know your body best. If something doesn't feel right, share your concerns with your medical team.


Self-advocacy is a powerful tool that empowers you to actively participate in your cancer treatment journey. By educating yourself, asking questions, and communicating openly with your medical team, you can ensure that your treatment plan aligns with your unique needs and preferences. Remember, your voice matters, and advocating for yourself plays a crucial role in achieving the best possible outcomes during your cancer treatment.