- Informed Consent
- What is informed consent and what does it mean?
- Why does the doctor need me to sign a consent form?
- What are the legal requirements of informed consent?
- Who besides the patient is allowed to consent?
- Are there times when the usual consent requirements do not apply?
- How will I be given information for informed consent?
- What questions should I ask during informed consent?
- Can I change my mind after I’ve signed the consent?
- What if I don’t want the treatment that’s being offered?
- How is informed consent for a clinical trial or research study different from consent for standard treatment?
- How is shared decision-making different from informed consent?
- What if I want my doctor to make the decisions about my care, and I don’t want more information?
- How can I find out more?
- To learn more about informed consent
To learn more about informed consent
More information from your American Cancer Society
Here is more information you might find helpful. You can order free copies of our documents from our toll-free number, 1-800-227-2345, or read them on our website, www.cancer.org.
Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know (also in Spanish)
A Guide to Cancer Surgery (also in Spanish)
A Guide to Chemotherapy (also in Spanish)
Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)
National organizations and websites*
Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information include:
Your state or city Bar Association
Check your local phone book or find it online at the American Bar Association website: www.abanet.org/barserv/stlobar.html
Your community’s Legal Aid Society
If your income is limited, look in your phone book or check the online information at the American Bar Association website; click on your state and look for “Free Legal Help” at www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
Cancer Legal Resource Center
Toll-free number: 1-866-843-2572 (leave a message for call back – it may take 2 to 3 days)
Offers free, confidential information and resources on cancer-related legal issues, including living wills/durable powers of attorney for health care/advance directives
National Cancer Institute
Toll-free number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Offers current information about cancer and cancer treatment, living with cancer, clinical trials, and research
American Hospital Association
Read their “Patient Care Partnership” brochure online for more on patients’ rights and responsibilities in the hospital. Also available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Russian
No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Bickmore TW, Pfeifer LM, Paasche-Orlow MK. Using computer agents to explain medical documents to patients with low health literacy. Patient Educ Couns. 2009;75:315-320.
Breitsameter C. Medical decision-making and communication of risks: an ethical perspective. J Med Ethics. 2010;36(6):349-352.
Derse AR. What part of “no” don’t you understand? Patient refusal of recommended treatment in the emergency department. Mt Sinai J Med. 2005;72:221-227.
Emedicine Health. Informed Consent. Accessed at www.emedicinehealth.com/informed_consent/article_em.htm on July 9, 2014.
Lee MK, Noh DY, Nam SJ, et al. Association of shared decision-making with type of breast cancer surgery: a cross-sectional study. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010;10:48.
National Cancer Institute. A Guide to Understanding Informed Consent. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/conducting/informed-consent-guide/page1 on July 25, 2012.
Pope TM, Hexum M. Legal Briefing: Informed Consent in the Clinical Context. J Clin Ethics. 2014;25(2):152-175.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Informed Consent – FAQs. Accessed at http://answers.hhs.gov/ohrp/categories/1566 on July 10, 2014.
White G. Obtaining informed consent: It’s more than a signature. Am J Nursing. 2000;100:83.
Whitney SN, McGuire AL, McCullough LB. A typology of shared decision making, informed consent, and simple consent. Ann Intern Med. 2003;140:54-59.
Last Medical Review: 05/20/2016
Last Revised: 07/28/2014