Do I Need a Second Opinion?

Do I need a Second Opinion?



Getting a new cancer diagnosis can be very scary. How do you know if the treatment that is recommended is the best one for you? Many treatment approaches are pretty straight forward, but occasionally, there are some questions and uncertainties. This was the case with my cancer.


When I was diagnosed with cancer, there was a question of when I should receive my chemotherapy and what type of chemotherapy I should have. One doctor recommended that I have my surgery first along with standard chemotherapy. The second doctor recommended that I have my chemotherapy before the surgery with standard chemotherapy. The third physician wanted to add an additional medication to my chemotherapy. Wow, 3 doctors with 3 different opinions! As you can see, there was really no right or wrong opinion. Medicine is not an exact science. But having multiple opinions, allowed me to choose which option I liked best.


What is a second opinion?


A second opinion consultation is when you have another physician of the same specialty review your medical records and examine you and then give you treatment recommendations.


When should you seek a second opinion?


  • When you want reassurance that the treatment recommendations are the best ones for your stage of disease.


  • When you get conflicting information from multiple doctors about the same disease.


  • When you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor and your intuition tells you to see someone else.


  • When you have a rare cancer where treatment options are limited.


  • When you doctor has run out of options and you are exploring alternative therapies or clinical trials.


How do I get a second opinion?


  • Let your doctor know that you want a second opinion. Your doctor should not be offended if you request a second opinion. They should want you to get all the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment.
  • Choose a competent physician. Your doctor may recommend someone, but it should be a physician that works in a group practice that is different that your current oncologist. You can choose another provider from your insurance company’s provider list. Or you may get referrals from a friend for family member.
  • Do your due diligence and make sure the doctor is board certified and licensed to practice in your state.
  • Get copies of all your medical records.
  • Get copies of any imaging procedures put on a disc to take with you to the doctor’s office. Some physicians will request these items ahead of your visit.
  • Check with your insurance to make sure the visit is covered. You may have to pay out of pocket for the visit. But don’t let this keep you from getting the information you need.


Second opinions are not always needed. But if there is any doubt. Get the second opinion. Second opinions can provide the peace of mind you need to move forward with confidence of your treatment. You may discover new, cutting edge treatment techniques, and or medications that you weren’t told about and they can assure that all possible treatment options have been presented to you so you can make the best choice for you.


: You have the right to get more information.






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