Cancer is the second most leading cause of mortality in the United States of America, following closely after heart disease. It is estimated that about 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed and roughly 600,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer by 2016 (cancer.org). These significantly high figures are alarming and it could be anybody, including you and your loved ones.
Detecting cancer as early as possible can improve one’s chances of winning the fight against this debilitating disease. Through getting regular check-ups and exams, even when a patient has no symptoms, doctors are able to detect early cancer that can be subjected to further and more specific testing. On the other hand, there are also reported cases when diagnoses are missed because tests can turn out to be normal.
For both situations, being diagnosed with cancer or not, yet you are still unsure of the results, seeking a second opinion is a wise decision. It is always better to be sure than to be sorry in the long run.
When you learn that you might have cancer or that you actually have one, it is fairly understandable to want to make sure that you are getting the best medical care and treatment. It is not uncommon that patients would want to talk to other doctors about their situation and for their tests results to be reviewed; most doctors are comfortable with this kind of request. It is important that you are honest with your doctor and that you are able to find the best form of approach that fits you especially during this trying situation. You may begin with asking your attending physician the following sample questions/statements: (cancer.org)
- “Before starting treatment, I would like a second opinion. Will you help me with that?”
- “If you had my type of cancer, who would you see for a second opinion?”
- “I think I’d like to see another doctor to be sure I have all my bases covered.”
- “Can you recommend someone with whom I could get a second opinion from?”
If your diagnosis is still unsure but there is a chance that you might have cancer, you can ask your doctor what he would do and with whom would he seek further consultations from. Ask for about two to three names and ask their specialization and which cancer centers they would recommend for you.
By the time that you have made up your mind that you will be seeking a second opinion, it is important to make a request for the copies of the results of your laboratory tests, such as original x-rays, blood tests, and your medical records so that when you seek another doctor, you have the information they would need in order for them to assess your situation. You can also prepare a set of questions you would like to be answered as well, for you to be able to acquire all the details that might be bugging you or that may still be unclear to you.
When you are ready, it is now time to make that call and set up that appointment with the people you have chosen to seek a second opinion from.