Tradeoffs related to clinical effectiveness, safety, adverse effects, and cost strike a balance between these important factors, but tradeoffs are not solutions. We must therefore strive for optimum balance and transparency by increasing collective awareness of these tradeoffs and by anticipating risks, benefits, alternatives, and costs about which we cannot be certain. And we must share the uncertainties with our patients. Informed consent helps to ensure that patients are aware of their options for treatment, including no treatment, and of how their preferences and individual characteristics might influence their quality of life. Increasing patients' participation in informed decision making empowers both patients and their clinicians and respects patients' autonomy.