Why it is important to get a Medical Second Opinion

Being diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease can cause a lot of anxiety and fear. Many wonder if another doctor would have had the same diagnosis and question whether or not they should seek a second opinion. Talking with someone else and hearing their take on the situation can help you to feel more confident in the treatment plan you do decide on. The goal is to make you feel 100% confident in your decision.

Do What is Right for You. Your Doctor Will Not be Offended.

Even if you think your doctor is fantastic, don’t let it stop you from getting a second opinion. A study at the Mayo Clinic showed that “21% of patients left with a completely new diagnosis, and 66% were deemed partly correct, but refined or redefined by the second doctor.” Second opinions are very commonplace and doctors are used to being asked for them. You want to be sure that when you are ready to make a decision, you are comfortable with your diagnosis and proposed treatment plan.

When Should You Get a Second Opinion?

  • If you receive a cancer diagnosis
  • If you are diagnosed with something that is going to require a risky surgery
  • If you are diagnosed with a rare disease
  • If it will make sure feel more comfortable to have another opinion

Why Should You Get a Second Opinion?

  • If you feel unsure, go with your gut and seek a second opinion. It will hopefully give you peace of mind.
  • A second opinion may provide you with additional options for treatment.
  • If your doctor is completely confident in their diagnosis, it is still helpful to hear another voice.
  • You still have questions about there being different options available for you.
  • If your initial doctor is not a specialist in that area of your diagnosis, you would want to see a doctor who is a specialist.
  • If your first doctor is not sure of the stage of your disease, you will want to see someone who can be more specific.
  • If you have several different treatment options and are not sure which would be best for you.
  • If you have trouble understanding the treatment plan your doctor is recommending, another opinion may make things clearer.
  • It is extremely important to feel comfortable and confident with your doctor. If you don’t, do not hesitate to get a second opinion.
  • Many health insurance plans require you to get a second opinion, so please check with your provider.

Preparing for Your Second Opinion Appointment and What You Should Ask:

  • Bring a friend or family member with you to record the conversation with your doctor or to take notes. You will be able to look over the notes again after your appointment.
  • Ask what tests they will be recommending to specifically diagnose you. Will those tests definitely confirm the diagnosis?
  • How serious is my condition?
  • What treatment plans are being suggested and are they different from your first opinion?
  • What are the benefits/risks involved with the treatments being recommended?
  • Should I be worried about the side-effects of the treatment? What might they be?
  • Could we look into any clinical trials that might be available? Can I apply for one if it might be a possibility for me?

What Do I Do Once I Receive My Second Opinion?

  • Take your time and review all of the information you received.
  • Discuss the options with someone you are close to and whose input you value and trust.
  • If you still have questions for either doctor, make sure you follow up before making a decision.
  • Did you feel more comfortable with one doctor over the other? Were you more at ease?
  • Choose the options that give you peace of mind

Advances in Medical Technology and Treatments:

Medical advancements are happening every day. Still, while things are advancing, not every medical facility will be able to offer you the same technology/treatment options. At the Saint John’s Cancer Institute we are committed to developing breakthrough treatments for cancer. Our goal is to eliminate patient suffering and prolong the lives of those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Learn more about many of the new technologies/treatments.

Contact Us Today About a Second Opinion:

The Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California wants all of our patients to feel comfortable with their diagnosis and proposed treatment plan. It is important to take your time and weigh all options. Find a doctor you trust and have confidence in. If you have been recently diagnosed or are seeking a second opinion, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

 

 

References and Resources:

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/choosing-your-treatment-team/seeking-a-second-opinion.html

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/second-opinions#:~:text=In%202017%2C%20a%20study%20showed,redefined%20by%20the%20second%20doctor

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