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Understanding and Utilizing Patient Preferences in Cancer Treatment Decisions

Peter A. Ubel

Shared decision-making is a complex endeavor that should take into account the patient's personal preferences regarding treatment options. To truly empower patients to be partners in decision-making, especially in situations in which their preferences are important, physicians must learn to communicate better and to distinguish between what is “medical fact” versus a “value judgement.” Knowing what are, when to ask, and how to ask the right questions will help physicians be effective in guiding patients toward the right treatments.