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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Coping With Cancer

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Other Things to Consider if You Have Cancer

While no one likes to think about his/her own disability or mortality, it is something that should be considered by everyone -- not just by those facing a serious illness like cancer. You should think about advance directives. These are special documents that describe your wishes regarding your medical care, and include the following:

  • Living will. This document exercises your right to accept or refuse medical treatment that artificially prolongs your life. The living will provides clear instructions regarding your choice of extended medical care. It is prepared when you are fully competent, in case you become unable to make such decisions at a later time. Living will requirements differ from state to state, so be aware of your state’s requirements. Make sure you understand whether your wishes can be overrode or revoked.
  • Durable power of attorney for health care. This is a document in which you appoint a trusted friend or family member to speak on your behalf if you should become incapable of expressing medical treatment preferences. An attorney should create this document so that it conforms to state laws and other legal regulations. This cannot cannot be ignored by a physician and can only be revoked by yourself or your designee.

In addition, consider writing a will to ensure that those who survive you will know how to carry out your wishes. This document should be prepared with an attorney.



WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Lisa B. Bernstein, MD on August 04, 2015
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