Knowledge is a powerful tool when it comes to you and your body. That’s why a different perspective about your disease, prognosis and treatment options can help you feel more in control of your situation.
A second opinion gives you a chance to better understand your condition and make the best decisions possible for yourself. It also can give you peace of mind that your treatment plan feels right for you.
Why a second opinion matters
Here are five ways a second opinion can help you make life-changing decisions about the direction of your cancer journey.
1. Confirm your cancer diagnosis
It’s natural to want to make sure your diagnosis is accurate. Different cancer programs may have more advanced technology that can give cancer specialists more precise information about your cancer.
A second opinion may result in a different stage of your disease. Or a specialist in your type of cancer may have experience with advanced technologies, treatment protocols or clinical trials that can make a difference in outcomes.
2. Understand your treatment options
When you face a cancer diagnosis, there's no time for second guesses. You need to make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time.
A second opinion offers a different perspective on your cancer and, perhaps, a different way to treat it. For example, a team-based approach to cancer treatment may change the sequence of therapies in your treatment plan.
3. Clarify your role as part of the decision-making team
You know better than anyone else what matters most to you and how you live your life. That’s why it’s important for you to take an active role in making decisions about your cancer care.
A second opinion gives you a chance to make sure your preferences are heard and that your treatment plan fits your personal needs. It’s important to have an honest conversation with your cancer specialists and feel comfortable with your care team. After all, you will have a long-term relationship with your care team as you move through your cancer journey.
4. Gain confidence in your cancer team
There’s a big difference between hoping you've chosen the right doctor and knowing it.
The standard of cancer care today demands high-level expertise in specific cancers and deep knowledge about targeted therapies to treat the disease. That’s why a coordinated approach to cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care can lead to better outcomes, limit unnecessary interventions and lower the cost of care.
With a second opinion, you can find out how different care teams work together, instead of decision-making by just one physician.
5. Learn about support services to help with physical and emotional side effects
Some cancer centers go beyond treating only the cancer and offer services to help you cope with stresses on your mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Ask about access to integrative care that can boost your body's natural healing process, help you stay mentally strong and keep up with your normal routine.
How to get a second opinion
A second opinion can offer a reason to hope and give you the peace of mind you need to follow through with treatment.
Talk with your doctor about your concerns. You don’t need to worry about offending your provider. Most cancer specialists encourage patients to seek other opinions.
Goshen Center for Cancer Care can help you navigate the process to get a second opinion. Call (888) 492-HOPE to get started.