Thank You Doctor, May I Have Another — Its Second Opinion Time.

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When a second opinion produces a different diagnosis or treatment recommendation, at a minimum it provides you with information and options. It also may identify a misdiagnosis or incomplete diagnosis or produce a better treatment plan. Where there are conflicting opinions or recommendations or if you are not comfortable with the opinions that you have received, you may want to seek the opinion from yet another doctor. Many medical institutions have tumor review boards and panels in which cases are presented to a group of doctors to obtain their input and thoughts regarding diagnosis, further work-up, and treatment. Either way, cancer presents too great a danger to not get a second opinion. Further, with all of the emerging options and the fast pace of developments, you want to take advantage of available options and will be well-served by seeing another set of physicians. In selecting treatment options, consider any discipline bias that may exist. Physicians specializing in stem cell transplants, for example, may be more inclined to recommend a stem cell transplant. Make sure that you have explored your treatment options sufficiently before embarking upon treatment. Most insurance plans cover second opinions , but check with your insurer to make sure it is covered and to ensure that you comply with any requirements and obtain any necessary approvals. Keep in mind that obtaining a second option may not be a one-time event. Many patients have cancer that is a chronic condition. In view of the pace of developments, it is important to review options and obtain consultations periodically to ensure that you have up-to-date information. Even if you are in the hands of a leading physician at a leading institution, you should obtain a second opinion.

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