How and When to Ask for a Second Opinion

Happy Patient

Decisions about cancer treatment are personal, and you need to feel comfortable about your choices

When receiving information about your treatment plan, it is important to trust your instincts.  Many people are afraid to ask their doctors for a second opinion, but it is in your best interest to do so. Everyone has the right.  Scroll down to learn when and how to ask their doctor for a secondary referral 

When to ask for a second opinion

1.  You have a gut feeling that you've been misdiagnosed

2.  You don't have confidence in your doctor(s)

3.  Your doctor isn't willing to answer your questions

4.  Your doctor isn't giving you enough information about your treatment options

5.  You feel as though you're being forced into an expensive or new type of treatment 

6.  You'd like reassurance that you're receiving the best treatments available

How do you get a second opinion?

Your doctor (or specialist), is the only one that can refer you for a second opinion. Explain that this is how you like to make big medical decisions. Don't worry about offending your doctor. Asking for a second opinion is common

How do you use a second opinion?

When you have gathered the information you need, go over it with your primary care doctor or the specialist of your choice

If your doctors agree, your decision should be clearer. But sometimes doctors disagree. Even when doctors follow the same guidelines, there may be more than one treatment choice. Two doctors may have good, yet different, opinions about how to treat you.

If the doctors don't agree, your primary care doctor should be able to guide you with your decision and weigh out the pros and cons of each decision.  If not, and if you still wonder about other options, request a third opinion.  Remember, the final choice is yours