Second Opinions

Bob Riter is the retired Executive Director of the Cancer Resource Center. His articles about living with cancer appeared regularly in the Ithaca Journal and on OncoLink. He can be reached at bobriter@gmail.com.

A collection of Bob’s columns, When Your Life is Touched by Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals, and Those Who Care, is available in bookstores nationwide and through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. All royalties from the sale of the book come to the Cancer Resource Center.

People diagnosed with cancer sometimes ask me if their doctor will take offense if they get a second opinion.

The answer is no. Nearly all doctors today are receptive to patients getting second opinions. (And if you have one of those rare doctors who does take offense, you should seriously consider getting a new doctor.)

Here are a few practical suggestions:

*          It’s entirely appropriate to ask your doctor for a recommendation as to where to go for a second opinion. This is especially true for rare cancers. You’ll want a second opinion from someone who sees that particular type of cancer on a regular basis. In addition, your doctor’s office can help arrange the appointment and send a copy of your medical records for you.

*          You should ask your doctor how long you can safely wait before beginning treatment. Some cancers are relatively slow moving and a delay in beginning treatment won’t make any difference. Other cancers are more aggressive and treatment should begin quickly

*          We usually think of second opinions in terms of treatment decisions, but it’s also possible to request a second opinion on the pathology itself. That is, your slides can be sent to another institution for a different pathologist to review.

What should you do if your second opinion differs from the original recommendation? You can ask the two doctors to talk with each other to see if they can reach a consensus. You can seek a third opinion. Another option I recommend is to meet with your family doctor who can often help explain the options and place them in context.

While it’s important to gather information and recommendations, I also encourage people to listen to their guts. Be aware of which decision lets you sleep better at night. Listen to that voice.


 

 

Click here to see all of Bob’s columns

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
On Key

Related Posts

LIGHTS – CAMERA – ACTION!!

CRC wants to make you famous! We are looking for anyone who has been diagnosed with any kind of cancer for a portrait project “Why we are here!” There is

Collaboration with Hospicare

Hospicare & Palliative Care Services and the Cancer Resource Center  both share a common goal to be accessible to diverse populations throughout our community. CRC supports people living with and

New Zoom group!

Virtually Together is the name of our newest group. It will meet by Zoom and is open to everyone – cancer patients, survivors, loved ones, all genders, and those affected