When You Should Get A Second Opinion
Last updated: January 2022
My decision to get a second opinion was an easy one and I have had two in my seven years. I was officially diagnosed with cancer at my local community hospital and was told that I didn’t need to go north to the city to seek treatment. Looking back that was the first red flag that I NEEDED to go to the city. I messaged a friend that I knew who was diagnosed with lung cancer almost exactly one year prior to my diagnosis and she gave me her oncologist's information. There are many reasons why someone should seek out a second opinion. Let's go over a few now.
Build a care team that represents YOU
Just as in my case, you should get a second opinion when you are first diagnosed. For me, it was because I had red flags from the beginning and did not feel that the local oncologist had my best interest in mind. We often go to our local hospitals or primary care physicians first and then find out that we have cancer. In lung cancer, it is best to find a specialist in the type of lung cancer that you have been diagnosed with.
In the beginning, we were having a hard time finding a treatment that would work for my cancer. I had progressed on chemotherapy and radiation decreased the tumor but not significantly. We found out that my tumor had MET amplification and the oncologist that I was seeing referred me to a colleague in Boston. This was my 2nd-second opinion. Second opinions can be used at times of progression.
It is hard to think of oncologists as normal people but sometimes our personalities clash with our medical teams. The third time that you should seek a second opinion is when you are feeling disrespected, unheard, or simply because you do not work well with the oncologist.
Changing doctors can be for logistical reasons
The next two reasons are obvious to most people. When you make a life move and live in a different town or even state, you should continue your care and it just might need to be with a new oncologist. Moving to warmer climates is always the dream! Also, if your oncologist retires or if they move and change practices. You will be referred to a new oncologist if this happens but you will want to make sure that the new oncologist fits your needs.
The last reason that I want to mention to seek out a second opinion is when you change insurance providers. If you have changed jobs or you are switching to Medicare/Medicaid you will want to make sure that you are going to an in-network provider to cut down unnecessary expenses.
What is your experience with second opinions?
I think that these are just a few of the many reasons why someone would seek out a second opinion. This is a question that I have been asked many times and that I have found to be asked quite a lot in the LungCancer.net forums.
Please share with us why you decided to seek out a second opinion on the comments.
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?