When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it can affect everyone in their lives. From work colleagues, family members and friends, everyone shifts their focus to help care for the person. After diagnosis, the next steps are often surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. These are extreme and invasive medical procedures.
The truth is that sometimes medical professionals get things wrong, and a patient may want confirmation that a diagnosis is accurate before starting a treatment plan. The Mayo Clinic provides some tips for those who are considering a second opinion.
Where to start with a second opinion
Many patients feel they will offend their doctor or embarrass them if they ask for a second opinion, but a physician who cares about the patient will understand the importance of consulting another specialist. Patients can ask their provider for a recommendation or search for providers in the area who specialize in their diagnosed condition. Consider their research, study new treatments available and take recommendations from family members and friends.
Before meeting with a second provider, patients should consult with their insurance company to make sure they will cover the visit. When scheduling the appointment, discuss insurance coverage with the office to make sure there are no unexpected expenses.
Patients should bring all medical records to a second appointment. This includes copies of scans, any previous treatment, pathology slides and any blood tests performed by the original doctor.
The next steps
After a second opinion, a patient may get the same answer they got from their primary provider. This gives peace of mind that the treatment course is right and the best one for them. Patients have the right to be sure they are getting the best treatment for their condition, and getting a second opinion makes it easier.