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6 reasons you should consider getting a second opinion

Second opinion
A second opinion may help you feel confident that you are getting the right cancer care.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. Whether it’s you or a loved one who’s been diagnosed, the news can be devastating. You may be experiencing many different emotions, including feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions that need to be made. However, knowing you have options for your cancer care may help you feel more confident and in control.

When you're fighting a disease like cancer, you want personalized, comprehensive treatment, delivered by a team of experts. A second opinion may help you feel confident that you’re getting the cancer care you need, and deserve. You may discover additional treatment options for your type and stage of cancer, or confirm a current treatment approach. Some advanced treatment options may result in speedier recovery, with fewer side effects and a better prognosis.

Here are six reasons why a second opinion matters:

Empowerment and control:  By proactively seeking a second opinion, you and your loved ones may become more informed about the treatment options available to you. Learning more about your cancer and your treatment may help you feel in control of your health.

Confidence and peace of mind: A second opinion may help you feel more confident in your care. In some instances, a second opinion may result in a different diagnosis—for, say, 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.

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 may provide more cancer treatment options, including treatments that are more advanced or more tailored to your individual needs.

A doctor you really like: Most doctors understand that patients have a right to a second opinion and should not feel offended. In fact, many doctors encourage you to seek a second opinion before making a treatment decision. You are under no obligation to treat with the oncologist recommended by your primary doctor.

Rare cancers: Having a rare cancer may sometimes increase the chance of a misdiagnosis, since it may be a disease that the pathologist has rarely, or never, encountered. If you’ve been diagnosed with a rare cancer, a second opinion may be beneficial to confirm the disease type and stage.

Hope: One doctor may say your cancer is untreatable, while another may explore other treatment options, giving you hope for the road ahead. If your doctor doesn’t listen to how you want to proceed, seeking a second opinion may help you find a care team that actively involves you in your treatment decisions and respects your preferences and goals.

Concerned about your cancer risk? Try our Risk Management Tool.