What is a second opinion in cancer treatment?
A second opinion, by definition, means, “Seeking advice from a second expert (oncologist) to make sure advice from the first such expert is correct”. Second opinion is a patient’s method of finding an alternative review of his or her condition and care plan by another, or by a few other qualified doctors to confirm the condition and validate their care. It involves consulting another doctor or visiting another hospital.
Why should you get a second opinion?
You might want to see another oncologist for the following reasons:
- Confirm Diagnosis
- Ensure you get the best treatment
- Trust what is being told about the condition and treatment
- Because you do not think you can talk to your doctor now
When you fight a disease such as cancer, you want to have faith in the current treatment options and that they are being provided by a team of experts. A second opinion makes you feel comfortable. A second opinion may discover new treatment options for your cancer form and stage or may validate a current approach to treatment. Many treatment options can lead to a faster recovery, with fewer side effects and a better prognosis.
Exploring a second opinion will help you make a more educated decision about how to treat your cancer. It may also introduce you to advanced treatment options if they are appropriate for the type and stage of your cancer.
Here are some benefits of getting a second opinion for your cancer treatment:
- Confidence and peace of mind: A second opinion can help you feel more confident in choosing the right treatment plan. A second opinion could, in some cases, point to another type or stage of cancer that might alter the treatment plan. If the initial diagnosis is confirmed, a second opinion will provide you with additional treatment options to consider.
- Advanced treatment options: Some hospitals have technology that does not exist in another facility. Getting a second opinion from a doctor in a health care system that uses state-of-the-art techniques and technology that provide more treatment options for cancer, including more advanced or more personalised treatments to your specific needs.
- Choice of a doctor you really like: Many doctors are mindful that patients are entitled to a second opinion and do not feel hurt. It is also recommended by several doctors before making a decision on treatment. You are not under any obligation to treat with the initial oncologist you have consulted. Take notice of the nurses and office staff while consulting with a new doctor, to ensure that you want to treat with the team or the hospital that fits your needs.
- A higher chance of a correct diagnosis: If you have had a rare cancer diagnosis, a second opinion may confirm the type and stage of the disease. A rare cancer can mean a higher risk of misdiagnosis, as it may be a disease rarely seen by the pathologist.
- A chance for hope: When one doctor says that your cancer is untreatable, maybe another doctor can discuss with you potential treatment options. By having a second opinion, you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.
Disadvantages of getting a second opinion:
Getting a second opinion is always possible, but may sometimes have disadvantages. These include:
- A likely delay in beginning treatment
- May be difficult or even impossible to travel to another hospital
- Hear your diagnosis again, which is potentially distressing
- Arranging a second opinion can take some time.
- A clash of opinions between your doctors, in which case, when it comes to your illness and how best to treat it, you would not be any wiser as to which of them is ‘right’.
- You will spend quite a bit, putting your bank account under strain.
However, such inconveniences arise in exceptional situations. While knowing the advantages and disadvantages of anything is always beneficial, it is clear that the pros outweigh the cons significantly when it comes to getting a second opinion
How to get a second opinion:
Talk to your oncologist if you decide to see another doctor. They can refer you to another oncologist who specialises in treating your condition. You could also avail a second opinion from a different private doctor of your choice.
Second opinion etiquette:
You may be afraid that if you want to seek help from another health care provider, your doctor may be insulted, but most physicians recognise that many people want to explore a different opinion, and will want you to feel confident and safe before beginning treatment.
Honesty is an integral part of the relationship between doctor and patient, so experts recommend that you keep both doctors aware of your decisions. You will need to get medical records from your original appointment, and this may be a time to tell your doctor you are exploring other treatment options.
Fee of second opinion:
The fee of availing a second opinion is much similar to the fee of initial oncologist consultation. The price ranges from INR 800 to INR 3000, depending on the oncologists.
Our treatment approach at ZenOnco.io:
At ZenOnco.io, we evaluate your medical history and perform comprehensive diagnostic testing to recommend treatment for your cancer type and stage, as well as for your individual and lifestyle needs. If you visit us, we do our best to make your stay at our hospital as relaxed and stress-free as possible.
Getting a second opinion will help you determine the treatment for cancer that is tailored to match your needs. Many of us face time constraints, and it may be difficult to fit another appointment into your busy work or home life.
Many factors determine how long it takes to assess a second opinion. While a thorough assessment usually takes a couple of days, under some cases ZenOnco.io may be able to give a one-day second opinion consultation[ND1] . When you contact us for a second opinion, we will discuss your particular situation and needs with you. A dedicated team of oncologists, nurses, dietitians and other cancer specialists will collaborate with you to assess your medical history, diagnostic reports and clinical status during the assessment. We will then create your customised treatment plan using all this knowledge.
Your next steps:
The best way to learn about how we can help you at ZenOnco.io is to call a Patient Care Manager (PCM) at +91 99 30 70 90 00