End-of-Life Choices

71563809_47If your initial diagnosis was for advanced (stage IV) head and neck cancer, your likelihood of survival within five years is low; out of patients similarly diagnosed with advanced head and neck cancer, 65 percent were deceased within five years. Although this may not be hopeful for you, awareness of this information should enable you to begin making your end-of-life choices.

You may want to reflect upon a few questions so that you can make end-of-life decisions:

  • What type of medical care do you desire at the end of your life? For example, do you want to receive CPR if you have a year or less to live? You may want to put legal documents into place, such as assigning a medical power of attorney to make these decisions for you.
  • Where do you want to die and how do you want to die? You may want to review hospice policies and decide which hospices may or may not be appropriate for you.

If possible, you may want to think about your options for the end of life, but periodically revisit your decisions. A few studies of patients who receive in-hospital treatment have found that patients change their opinion of various types of medical treatments, especially before and after hospitalizations.