Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. Whether it is you or a loved one, the news can be devastating. You may be experiencing many different emotions right now, including feeling overwhelmed with all of the decisions that need to be made. However, knowing you have options for your cancer care can help you feel more confident and in control.
When you're fighting a disease like cancer, you want the most targeted treatment options available, delivered by a team of experts. A second opinion helps you feel confident that you are getting the right cancer care. You may discover additional treatment options for your type and stage of cancer, or confirm a current treatment approach. Some advanced treatment options can result in a speedier recovery, with fewer side effects and a better prognosis.
Here are six reasons why a second opinion matters:
1. Feel Empowered and Take Control – By proactively seeking a second opinion, you and your loved ones become more informed about all of the available treatment options. Learning more about your cancer and your treatment options can help you feel in control of your health.
2. Confidence and Peace of Mind – A second opinion can help you feel more confident that you are choosing the right treatment plan.
After reviewing tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients across the country, researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore discovered that one out of every 71 cancer cases was misdiagnosed. In some cases, a biopsy was labeled cancerous when it was not, and in up to one out of five cases, the cancer was misclassified. In some instances, a second opinion might yield a different type or stage of cancer, which may change the treatment plan. If the original diagnosis is confirmed, a second opinion may provide additional treatment options for you to consider.
3. Discover Advanced Treatment Options – Some hospitals have treatments that are not available at another facility. Seeking a second opinion from a doctor in another health system could provide more cancer treatment options, including treatments that are more advanced or more tailored to your individual needs.
These are a few examples of advanced treatments that can only be found in select hospitals throughout the country:
- CyberKnife® VSI™ Robotic Radiosurgery delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to a broad range of tumors throughout the body. Benefits may include no incision, no pain, no anesthesia or hospitalization, greater comfort and immediate return to normal activities.
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) allows patients with a variety of cancer types to receive a single, powerful dose of radiation directly to a tumor site during surgery, helping to reduce treatment times and minimize side effects.
- The NanoKnife® System uses electrical currents to destroy cancerous tumors. Benefits may include no open incisions, less damage to healthy tissue, reduced side effects and faster recovery.
Not sure if a doctor is right for you? Here are some questions you should be able to ask your doctors.
5. You Have a Rare Cancer – A rare cancer could mean a greater chance of misdiagnosis, since it may be a disease that the pathologist has rarely encountered. If you’ve been diagnosed with a rare cancer, a second opinion may be beneficial to confirm the disease type and stage.
6. You’ve Been Told There is No Hope – In every situation, there is always hope. One doctor may say that your cancer is untreatable, while another will explore other treatment options. If your doctor doesn’t listen to how you want to proceed, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting a second opinion.
Learn more about a second opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®.