The Value Of A Second Opinion
When facing a life-changing cancer diagnosis, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. First, there are the emotional ones like What’s going to happen to me? Or How serious is it? And then there are practical matters: Where should I go for treatment? What will I do about insurance?
Before you start mapping out a treatment plan, however, most doctors encourage patients to slow down and take a crucial, but often overlooked step: get a second opinion.
When To Get a Second Opinion
Many newly diagnosed cancer patients don’t get a second opinion because they (understandably) want to start treatment right away. But unless your cancer diagnosis requires emergency care, seeking a second opinion is often a wise choice. In fact, in many cases, seeking a second opinion is not only suggested, but necessary. These circumstances include anytime the following occurs:
- Surgery is one of the treatment options suggested
- Numerous possible treatment options are available
- After consulting with your doctor, you still have a number of unanswered questions
- You are told by the doctor that a specific type of cancer treatment cannot be used to treat your condition
- You are told by the doctor that nothing or nothing more can be done to treat your cancer
- Your cancer returns unexpectantly after treatment
- A cause for your symptoms is not found, but the symptoms continue
- You feel that there is something wrong with the diagnosis or suggested treatment for your cancer
Of course, even if you’ve already begun treatment and want a second opinion, it may still be possible to get one. However, it is best to look into it soon after a diagnosis has been made.
Reasons To Get a Second Opinion
Aside from timing, cancer patients sometimes don’t seek a second opinion because they don’t want to compromise their relationship with their current doctor. Rest assured, when facing a serious illness like cancer, nothing should stand in your way of receiving care that provides the greatest opportunity for success and makes you feel comfortable. A medical professional should fully support and respect your choice to seek a second opinion, especially for any of these reasons:
- You want to confirm your original diagnosis
- You want to establish the utmost confidence in your treatment plan and remove any doubts surrounding it
- You want to ensure you have access to the latest treatments and technologies
- You want to explore options for clinical trials, which may only be available at certain hospitals
- You’re seeking a better understanding of your condition
- You have questions you feel aren’t getting answered
- You want help weighing the benefits and risks of the recommended treatment options
- You want help making an informed, educated decision as to what treatment is best for you
No matter how or where you get a second opinion, newly diagnosed patients should take solace knowing that today, as cancer research continues to grow and develop, there’s more hope for cancer treatment and cancer diagnosis today than ever before.