The secret to getting a second medical opinion

The Secret to Getting a Second Medical Opinion

The Secret to Getting a Second Medical Opinion

The secret to getting a second medical opinion

When you are diagnosed with cancer, there is so much swirling around in your head. There are so many questions that flow in and out of your mind that it’s hard to keep up. After talking with your doctor about your diagnosis and what it means, I strong recommend getting a second medical opinion. There is a secret to getting a second opinion. In this article, I’ll share this secret along with other best practices.

Once you get through the initial shock (which may or may not include expletives) and ask your doctor the right questions, you want to get a second opinion.

First, we should address WHY you need a second opinion.

Why Do I Need a Second Opinion

Here’s why it’s so important:

  1. This is YOUR life we are talking about. It is your right to get a second opinion. It has nothing to do with trust. It has everything to do with your rights as a consumer.
  2. You will be in touch with other doctors with different backgrounds and experience.
  3. It helps you decide who will be part of your medical team.
  4. You DESERVE to have the benefit of more than one physician’s thinking.
This is YOUR life we are talking about. It is your right to get a second opinion. Click To Tweet

Here are some best practices for ensuring a successful second opinion:

  1. Meet with a board-certified oncologist or cancer specialist.
  2. Meet with a surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist. If you meet with just one of these doctors, you may only get advice based on their specialty (surgery, radiation or chemotherapy).
  3. If you met with a general surgeon, meet with an oncologist. General surgeons deal with all kinds of medical issues; not just cancer. They generally won’t have the benefit of the whole picture.
  4. Take all your records in person to the other doctor visits so you are assured your records make it there.
  5. Get your second opinion before deciding on or starting treatment.
  6. When scheduling a second opinion appointment, ask the doctor’s office if there are any additional tests required prior to meeting with the doctor.
  7. If you are open to alternative and complementary therapies, I recommend consulting with a holistic physician.
  8. Record the conversation and/or bring a friend or family member with you to take notes.


The Secret to Getting a Second Medical Opinion

Above all else, the second opinion doctors need to be independent of each other. This means they shouldn’t be in any kind of partnership with the doctor that made the initial diagnosis. Go to different hospitals and/or different medical group affiliations.  Getting second opinions from doctors who are friends, business associates, or colleagues in the same medical group as the diagnosing doctor almost always leads to a subjective evaluation. It’s difficult to not allow these influences to impact their determination. This is an often overlooked issued when seeking second opinions. It’s crucial to get a second opinion from someone completely independent from the diagnosing doctor.

YOU are Worth a Second Opinion

Remember, it’s your right to get a second opinion. Most insurance companies will pay for a second opinion with something like cancer. You won’t offend your doctor for letting them know you are getting a second opinion. If your doctor IS offended, you probably need a new doctor.  Also remember that certain doctors are compensated based on the treatment they recommend. A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming.  However, a second opinion is CRITICAL before pursuing treatment.


Next Steps

If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult time, such as cancer, I invite you to get your FREE Daily Dose of HopeHope is the beginning of all healing. I wish I had this when I was going through cancer. Get your Daily Dose of Hope HERE.

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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