January 22, 2019
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, confused and upset. These emotions are often coupled with an urgent desire to begin treatment right away. However, depending on what type of cancer you have and what stage it’s in, there may be a window of time in which you should seek a second opinion.
Receiving a second opinion before you start treatment is beneficial in several ways. While some people feel apprehensive about discussing this subject with their current cancer physician, many professionals encourage patients to seek outside opinions, and they will more than likely support the request. Fresh insights may lead to treatment options you haven’t considered, or they could allow for the incorporation of clinical trials or alternative therapies into your treatment plan. Even a confirmation of the original diagnosis can bring you the reassurance you need to move forward knowing you explored all the available options.
At MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, the region’s top cancer specialists work together through the Second Opinion Program. “Through this specialized program, patients benefit from a multidisciplinary review of their individual situation,” says Robert A. Somer, MD, Head of the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “Experts in medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, pathology and radiology, and when appropriate gynecologic oncology, meet weekly to discuss cases, including a thorough review of the patient’s records, their pathology and imaging studies to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan,” says Somer.
“It is through these discussions that we are able to provide a thoughtful, comprehensive plan that will maximize a patient’s outcomes.”
If, after receiving a second-opinion evaluation, the diagnoses and treatment recommendations are the same, you can proceed under the care of your original cancer care team or with the team at MD Anderson at Cooper. MD Anderson at Cooper provides its patients with access to a wide range of comprehensive cancer services, such as proven and customized treatment plans, access to clinical trials, collaboration by national and regional specialists and a host of supportive care services.
When the original diagnosis and treatment recommendations differ from the second opinion findings, there are a couple things to consider. Ask both doctors to explain how they reached their conclusions, including the rationale behind their proposed treatment plans and the ways in which they interpreted your test results. Inquire about similar cases to ensure that you understand the details of your personal diagnosis.
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, seeking a second opinion can give you the confidence you need to move forward with a particular course of treatment. A fresh perspective could be just what you need to uncover additional treatment options worth considering, which could lead to even better outcomes for your treatment and recovery.
There is no greater responsibility than when a patient puts their life in the care of others. The team at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper recognizes and values this trust. For a second opinion appointment call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667) or visit online.