Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Lori Geurin
Whether you’re living with a chronic illness or trying to overcome something in the short-term, there are many different choices to make about the care you receive. It can be overwhelming, but, ultimately, everything you do when you’re ill comes down to you. Knowing your options is important. Keep reading to learn the truth about breakthrough treatments, pros, and cons.
Your doctor can diagnose and recommend, but they can’t take medicine, or decide on treatment routes for you. You have to do that yourself.
It can be a stressful reality to accept. After all, your mind is already full of your diagnosis. Never before will you have been so willing to hand over the reins on those difficult decisions. But, if you don’t make them, nothing will change. You can start by getting your mindset right before any treatment starts. Even with chronic conditions, prompt, educated decisions are the best way to ease discomfort and help you move forward with your life.
In many ways, merely ensuring you understand your options will take you far in this sense. You need to know as much as possible about your condition and the treatments available, too. You should also research the side effects or potential adverse reactions to each option. The good news is, such research won’t take long when you have Google at your fingertips.
The bad news is, Google can often throw up more than you were anticipating. Once you start researching, you may come across treatments your doctor didn’t mention. Many of these will be new therapies, which weren’t mentioned because they aren’t widely used. If you thought things were complicated before, they’ll be worse once you add these new options to your repertoire.
In many ways, you could argue that you should be as informed as possible about new therapies available to you. But, medicine isn’t plain sailing when it’s fresh from the idea-lab. And, it’s necessary you know that before jumping into those untested waters.
There’s no denying that the next new thing could be what you’ve been waiting for. But, before you get your hopes up, consider these pros and cons to opting for a new therapy to aid your recovery.
Examining The Truth About Breakthrough Treatments
1. New therapies are at the forefront of medical breakthroughs
Even in this modern age, medicine is changing all the time. Developments, like the ones mentioned in this article on are forever helping us overcome illnesses that were once considered untreatable.
What’s more, new treatment options are improving methods which could already change lives. Scientists are forever looking for ways to reduce adverse side effects or end unnecessary pain. By studying diseases and data, they expand their knowledge of said diseases, and thus their ability to treat them.
If you opt for a brand-new therapy, you can be sure that it takes the latest developments into account. You’ll be able to rest easy that you’re at the forefront of the medical world, and thus receiving the best possible treatment for the time.
2. They use the latest technology
Not to mention that new therapies often use the latest technologies. Technology and its developments are working wonders in the medical world. Once, all medicine was guesswork. Scientists were only able to understand how the body worked using autopsy. There was certainly no such thing as an MRI machine or even an x-ray.
But, technology moves at such a fast rate that even the above inventions now belong in the history books. Instead, we’re looking at a never-ending stream of new medical technologies. These include diabetes implants, which can measure blood pressure and release insulin automatically.
As you can see, a new therapy that uses technology could be much more precise and efficient than an older option.
3. They often aren’t as new as we think
By the time a medical therapy reaches our ears, it’s usually been in the pipeline for longer than we realize. With so much at stake, extensive testing has to take part before information can even be released. Not to mention that many therapies are merely hybrids of those which have come before. As such, the concept may not be as ‘brand new’ as you first though.
This theory can be applied to many new therapies, including high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for treating prostate cancer. While new for prostate cancer, such treatments have been used as a cure for various other cancers, including breast and kidney.
The same can be said for the technologies mentioned in the article linked above. Few of these have come from nowhere, but are developments of old methods. As such, you can rest easy that a new therapy isn’t actually all that new, thus giving you the opportunity to research and collect information from its past life.
1. No knowledge of long-term side-effects
There’s no getting around the fact that all medicine or treatment has side effects. That’s just the way it goes. Often, treatment is a toss-up between feeling bad because of your illness, or because of the way you’ve chosen to cure it.
Doctors typically recommend treatments they believe are needed and will help you feel better in the long-run. But it is always a good idea to do your homework and decide for yourself whether the benefits of the medication prescribed outweigh the side-effects. Many of us settle on potentially harsh therapies like chemotherapy because we believe they’ll help us feel better after they make us worse…and many times they do.
With a new therapy, there’s no knowledge of side effects, or whether they’ll have long-term implications. As such, you could feel worse for the long-term, and not just for a short time. Even more concerning, the treatment you’ve chosen to make you better could end up creating a whole new illness you’ll need to contend with.
There’s simply no way of knowing until the treatment has been around for a number of years. Hence, many patients going down this path have to sign a waiver that they won’t sue if it does happen. There’s no denying that it’s a risky game.
2. Less information to help you prepare
When we’re undergoing an invasive therapy, or even just a new round of medication, the majority of us do all the research we can. It’s how we prepare for what’s around the corner, and make sure that we’re making the right decision beforehand. As you may have guessed already, a new therapy doesn’t have that benefit. The information simply isn’t out there, so there’s no real way to put your mind at ease or prepare for what’s going to happen.
As mentioned above, many therapies aren’t as new as we think. So, you may be able to gather some information about the treatment in its past life, or when used for a different illness. For the most part, though, you’ll be going into the situation blind. Hence, any negative side effects could hit you that much harder. We have a propensity to deal with a lot of things if we’re expecting them. If they hit us unawares, there’s much more chance they’ll floor us.
3. Less of a support network
As mentioned at the start of this post, when you face illness, you may feel alone. Your loved ones will hopefully be there for you. But, for the most part, they won’t have been where you are. They can’t be with you when you face the most frightening aspects of your illness.
So, many of us opt to join support groups, or online forums, where we can interact with people in the same position. Such groups often focus on people undergoing the same therapies, so they compare notes and comfort each other.
But, if you opt for a new treatment, you may not find it as easy to seek such support. After all, if fewer people are going down this route, there won’t be any support groups to attend. The internet ensures you should be able to talk to at least someone else experiencing the same. But, the levels of support you find will likely be nowhere near those of a more widely used treatment.
Summary – The Truth About Breakthrough Treatments
As you can see, the playing field on whether to choose new therapies is a relatively open one. Both sides have convincing arguments, any of which could be enough to sway you. And, as much as it’s no help to hear it, the decision, once again, falls on you.
All you can do is make an informed choice about what would work best in your situation. Consider what you value most and whether the above points fit with that. If, for example, quantifiable results are most important to you, a new therapy wouldn’t be the best. But, if you’re more interested in being at the front of medical advances, this would be your chance.
You never know; you could end up being one of the first recipients in a medical phenomenon. As with anything when it comes to our health, this is a game of risk. The question, really, is whether you’re willing to play.
What do you think about cutting-edge breakthrough treatments? Can you think of more pros and cons to add?
Share your thoughts below.
For more on chronic illness, you’ll want to check out:
- Best Superfoods For Spoonies: Chronic Illness Symptom Relief
- Spring Break Adventures With The Family And Tips For Traveling With Chronic Illness
- 7 Tips For Coping With Chronic Illness
- Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?
- Living With Disease In The Modern World: A Hard (& Busy) Life
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