Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient. Never feel guilty about asking for one. All physicians have had patients either come to them for a second opinion or have had patients obtain one elsewhere.Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient.
Should You Get A Second Opinion In Your Cancer Care?
Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient. Never feel guilty about asking for one. All physicians have had patients either come to them for a second opinion or have had patients obtain one elsewhere. If this upsets your physician, then they are not the right one for you. It is the job of your physician to help you achieve the best outcome possible, regardless of where and by whom.
If you think that getting a second opinion is not common, you should know that one report indicated that 56% of cancer patients obtain second opinions.(Hewitt, Breen, & Devesa, 19http://www.cancercarespecialtiesmena.com/news/breast-cancer-dubai/99)
Why And When To Seek A Second Opinion?
If you have been diagnosed with cancer it is crucial that your diagnosis is correct, your treatment plan is appropriate and you are comfortable with the specialists on your cancer care team and what they are recommending.
Even though you may feel an urgency to begin treatment, in most circumstances, you have time to do your research and get additional opinions without negatively impacting the effectiveness of your treatment.
Since it can take up to a few weeks to get a second opinion, confirm with your oncology providers how much time you can delay while you obtain a second opinion. Its important to recognize that even if you have already started treatment, its not too late to get a second opinion. In fact, you can obtain second opinions at any time point during your care (i.e. after your diagnosis, before your treatment, during your treatment, after your treatment.)
Its not uncommon for treatment plans to change after a patient gets a second opinion. In a University of Michigan study of breast cancer patients, more than half of them changed their treatment after getting a second opinion from a multidisciplinary tumor board of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and pathologists.
Here Are Some Examples Of Why You Might Consider Getting A Second Opinion:
- Pathology second opinions: If the pathology is read incorrectly, this can completely alter the treatment plan. One study recently reported that 11% of breast cancer pathology second opinions resulted in significant differences that changed the treatment plan.(Khazai, Middleton, Goktepe, Liu, & Sahin, 2015)
You will need to sign �release forms to allow sharing of your confidential medical information with the second opinion providers. Some insurance plans may require a request for a second opinion from your primary care physician or a member of your cancer care team.Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patientObtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient.
Will Your Insurance Company Pay For A Second Opinion?
Many insurance providers, pay for second opinions.
Often, insurance companies will only pay for providers in their network. Find out from them if there is a specific process they require you to follow to obtain this second opinion.
. Keep records of all interactions (written, phone, emails, names, dates, etc.)
The Bottom Line:
At the end of the day, you will need to make a final decision based on the different opinions, recommendations, programs, and providers. If the opinions are all very different, it is very unlikely that there is only one right answer and you will have to make the best choice for you based on your circumstances and the information you have.
Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient
Gooiker, G. A., van Gijn, W., Post, P. N., van de Velde, C. J., Tollenaar, R. A., & Wouters, M. W. (2010). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the volume-outcome relationship in the surgical treatment of breast cancer. Are breast cancer patients better of with a high volume provider? Eur J Surg Oncol, 36 Suppl 1, S27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2010.06.024
Hewitt, M., Breen, N., & Devesa, S. (1999). Cancer prevalence and survivorship issues: analyses of the 1992 National Health Interview Survey. J Natl Cancer Inst, 91(17), 1480-1486.
Khazai, L., Middleton, L. P., Goktepe, N., Liu, B. T., & Sahin, A. A. (2015). Breast pathology second review identifies clinically significant discrepancies in over 10% of patients. J Surg Oncol, 111(2), 192-197. doi: 10.1002/jso.23788
L C. C., Lee, Y. T., Hu, Y. W., . . . Huang, N. (2015). Association of surgeon volume and hospital volume with the outcome of patients receiving definitive surgery for colorectal cancer: A nationwide population-based study. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29356
Obtaining a second opinion on your care is your right as a patient.