All medical patients maintain the right to a second opinion when diagnosed with any condition. This is specifically very important when it comes to cancer. A second opinion may add insight to a patient’s condition, extend alternative treatment options to the patient and their family and provide a sense of complete knowledge for the patient.
While second opinions are often not covered by insurance, and can be expensive, it’s worth the extra cost when you consider the benefits mentioned above. If you can afford to get a second opinion, by all means you should get one.
Although you may be warned by your physician that taking a few weeks to get a second opinion may decrease your chances of successful, statistics have shown that in most cases, you can afford to wait to begin treatment until a complete second evaluation is performed. Your life could depend on it!
Follow these guidelines in determining whether you should request a second opinion. You should obtain a second evaluation of your condition:
- When you are diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, such as cancer..
- When your medical team seems unsure of how to treat your condition..
- When you are not working hand-in-hand with a specialist who is familiar with your specific condition, and has treated others who have similar medical issues or concerns..
- When you are a good candidate for alternative or experimental medications and other treatments that your physician is unable to offer.
- When you are at all uncomfortable with the diagnosis, or when you have remaining unanswered questions about your diagnosis..
- When you seek reassurance.
- When you doubt the diagnosis that has been provided.
- When you feel that your medical team has not assessed the true severity of your condition or symptoms.
- When you are in disagreement over the prescribed method of treatment.
In most cases, your medical team will support or even encourage your obtaining a second opinion about your condition. Some will even make recommendations to specialists who can accurately asses your condition to your satisfaction. Other routes for locating a provider from which to get a second assessment of your condition are family, friends and support group members. If you do not know of anyone who has gone through treatment for the diagnosed condition, you might want to call a local hospital, or use an online physician referral system.