When I was first given my cancer diagnosis, my physicians and health care workers offered a wealth of information and resources to me, from other professionals to organizations that would help with whatever I needed in the North East Ohio area.
How important is a second opinion?
The most important thing to remember whether you have been diagnosed with cancer, or you’re dealing with another serious medical diagnosis, is you may want to consider the benefits of a second opinion. Though it may be awkward telling your original doctor that you won’t be returning, he/she should understand that finding another opinion is a common practice. And if your doctor does not understand, then maybe it’s not someone you want to visit again anyway. While it may take some effort to seek out a second opinion, it could be worth those extra steps. If nothing else, at least you’ll feel comfortable and confident that you are heading down the right treatment path.
Why seek a second opinion?
Here are six reasons why you might want to consider a second opinion for your cancer diagnosis:
- Feel empowered and take control – Learn as much as you can about your cancer. Speak to everyone on your health care team and ask questions until you feel comfortable and understand everything.
- Confidence and peace of mind – Have you considered a second opinion? Not on whether you have cancer, but what treatment options are available to you.
- Discover advanced treatment options – Every hospital/medical facility is different. What may be available at the hospital down the street from you may have fewer options than the hospital an hour away. Determine if everyone is on the same page.
- Find a doctor you really like – This, to me, is the most important. Not only should you like your doctor and staff, but you are also placing your complete trust in them.
- You are confused and overwhelmed - This is the main reason to get a second or even a third opinion. Do not take what you are told and be okay with it. Be overjoyed that there is treatment available.
Taking care into your own hands
In 2018, many stage IV lung cancer patients are surviving longer than ever. They are the trailblazers that have paved the way for new treatments and therapies. Now it is our turn. Let's not allow the stigma of lung cancer and if you smoke you get lung cancer to cause us to have fewer treatments. Well, that is simply not true. In fact, 20% of those newly diagnosed either never smoked or quit over 15 years ago. No one deserves this.
Take time to adjust to your diagnosis and then do everything in your power to ensure you are receiving the best possible treatment available.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
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