Everyone has the right to make decisions about his or her own health care. This includes deciding when and if you want medical treatment to go on or to stop. You have the right to accept or refuse treatments, even treatments that will prolong your life. One way to hold onto your rights is by putting decisions about future health care in writing. This is called an advance directive. An advance directive is a legal paper. It states your wishes about health care choices. Or it can name someone else to make those choices if the time comes that you cannot do so yourself. Doctors follow your advance directive if you can’t make medical decisions because of an illness or injury.
Advance directives can only be used for decisions about medical care. Other people cannot use them to control your money or property. Advance directives take effect only if you can’t make your own decisions. Others can and may have to make health care decisions for you if you don’t have an advance directive. An advance directive helps you keep some control over these decisions. For more information, please see our document, Advance Directives.
- Advanced Cancer
- What is advanced cancer?
- What is metastatic cancer?
- Can advanced or metastatic cancer be prevented?
- How is advanced cancer found?
- How is advanced cancer treated?
- Surgery for advanced cancer
- Ablative techniques for advanced cancer
- Radiation therapy for advanced cancer
- Drug treatment for advanced cancer
- Clinical trials
- Complementary and alternative therapies for advanced cancer
- Managing symptoms of advanced cancer, by location
- Managing general symptoms of advanced cancer
- What should you ask your doctor about advanced cancer?
- Coping with advanced cancer
- Sources of support
- Choices for palliative care
- Advance directives
- Additional resources for advanced cancer
- References: Advanced cancer
Last Medical Review: February 7, 2014 Last Revised: March 6, 2014