A second opinion is essential in the following scenarios:
If you have been told at first diagnosis that you have a rare or difficult to treat cancer – you should seek a second opinion.
If your diagnosis involves highly toxic and prolonged treatments or extremely invasive surgical procedures that will impact your well-being, quality of life and survivorship – you should seek a second opinion.
Currently Undergoing treatment:
If you are already undergoing treatment for cancer and experiencing significant side-effects, or your treatment is not working – you should seek a second opinion.
CUP – Cancer of Un-diagnosed Primary:
It is absolutely essential if you have been diagnosed with CUP that you seek a second opinion even if you are a patient at our best cancer centres.
Other Situations Where a Second Opinion May be Important:
*You feel uncomfortable with your doctor, the diagnosis or you need confirmation
*The treatment offered has side effects or risks that you find disconcerting
*The treatment options will result in unacceptable or unreasonable demands on your life and your family
*Your doctor’s treatment goals are different from your own – full article
Pathology professor, Lavinia Middleton, from MD Anderson USA, says, “It’s not uncommon for patients seeking a second opinion at MD Anderson to receive a significantly different diagnosis.
A 2011 review of some 2,700 patient cases revealed that in 25%, discrepancies between the original pathologists’ reports and MD Anderson’s were found. And a 2015 study showed clinically significant discrepancies in diagnosis in 10% of breast cancer patients at MD Anderson. Full Article
Second opinions might offend some oncologists.
Oncologists usually cooperate among each other, even though they do not often perceive an added value in such second opinions, according to a small study from The Netherlands recently published in JAMA Oncology.
In the Netherlands second opinions are fully covered by insurance with a referral by any physician, and medical files are only transferred on patients’ explicit request. Full article
How to get a second opinion:
Helping patients to access second opinions is a significant part of our Institute’s services – via our Survive & Thrive Navigation Package.
Personalised and precision medicine:
Sometimes being proactive with a second opinion means that diagnostic tests need to be re-visited.
The most effective way for patients who wish to explore personalised medicine is to be referred for genomic testing (via a registered and experienced Laboratory)
Our navigated patients are introduced to genomic testing. Then when results are available; referred to a consulting oncologist who can interpret the results which are summarised and can be sent to your treating doctors.
Should your treating doctor not be able to assist you or provide targeted treatments recommended by genomic testing…
Then our Institute will access various experts on your behalf to extend your second opinion and make applications to global cancer experts, clinics or hospitals.