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Getting 2nd opinions from other oncologists outside of your health care plan

Aeaea
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2010

I really like that we can all help each other out by asking our oncologists for opinions on questions others raise on this forum.

I've thought it might be worth paying for an oncologist who specializes in uterine cancer to get a 2nd opinion from (there are no gyn cancer oncologists where I'm being treated).

If I did that, which institution would be best, i.e. Mayo clinic, johns hopkins, sloan kettering? Are there any places with free advice, i.e. this website has doctors you can call/write, or cancer.gov ?

does anyone have any recommendations of who I might hire to get 2nd opinions, and what it might cost?

too bad the success rate of treatments and physicians doesn't exist, or isn't available to the public to my knowledge...

SI
Posts: 21
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Aeaea,

I do not know about finding a good inexpensive second opinion, or about the best places to go for a second opinion, but I recently obtained another opinion from a gynocological oncologist. I have not received a bill as yet, but will let you know when I find out the cost. My oncologist is also not a gynocological oncologist. My thought was that a gynocological oncologist sees only gynocological cancer all day, every day, and would thus have the most relevant knowledge and current information. I am really glad that I was able to get the additional information for peace of mind. Also my treatment plan will now likely be changed somewhat.

Many good wishes!!

SI

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Aeaea, I would suggest that you check out a Univerity Medical setting in your State....they usually have a gyn oncologist. I did go to a University for a second opinion and although Medicare paid for the second opinion, I don't think the consultation was over 300.00.

Good luck!

Karen

kansasgal's picture
kansasgal
Posts: 115
Joined: Aug 2009

Where I live there are only two gynecological oncologists, and they share a practice. I decided that I needed a second opinion after I received the UPSC diagnosis and my gyn/onc's treatment recommendations. The next nearest gyn/onc was actually in another state. He had been recommended by a gyn/onc who is a close friend of mine but lives in another country. I called my health insurance company and told them I wanted to have a second opinion by a gyn/onc and the closest was in another state. I found that the person I wanted to see was not on my insurance company's list, but another doctor in the same practice WAS on the list. I called that practice and was told that the doctor I wanted to see indeed WAS on the list and had a contract with my company. That really surprised me. My husband said not to worry, that we would pay out of pocket if necessary. The total charges for having my slides sent and reviewed and for the consultation and examination by the doctor were $1,750.75. Because of the doctor's contract with the insurance company, $963.44 was written off. My insurance company paid $787.31 and I paid nothing. Of course by that time I had already paid my annual insurance deductible in full.

Be sure to call your insurance company and find out as much as you can about getting a second opinion. I was surprised that my company would pay for me to see a doctor in another state. Also call the doctor you would like to see for the second opinion and find out how much they charge for everything you need and if they know of a way to receive payment from your insurance company.

It's always something, isn't it!

Good luck and a big hug!

Sally

nancygt
Posts: 86
Joined: Jan 2010

I just had that conversation with my gynological oncologist yesterday. I was Stge 3A, Grade 3,diagnosed 11/08. My treatment regimen was similar to many here-hysterectomy/oopharectomy (no pelvic lymph node spread) followed by the "sandwich protocol" which was 3 treatments carboplatin/taxol, then 6 weeks external radiation, 3 brachytherapy to viginal cuff, then 3 more Carboplatin/taxol. My CA 125 is a diagnostic marker as it went from 450 post surgery down to 9. First 3 month check up was okay- CA 125 went up to 21. But next 3 month was 179 and CT/PET showed activity in lymph nodes near liver. Biopsy confirmed it was recurrence anf I am scheduled to meet on targeted radiation tomography tomorrow.With a recurrence only 6 months out from treatment, I am shaken and want to consult with another major cancer center even though I really like and trust my doctor. He was great and he said he had no ego on the topic and it is my life. He felt 2 best institutions were UAB or M.D. Anderson. I chose M.D. Anderson becasue they have worldwide reputation, large gyn oncology dept including genetics, and seem to be very active in getting clinical trials (one upcoming involving Herceptin being used for UPSC as it has proven effective for breast cancer. he did say his experience is that most insurance does pay for second opinion/consulltation but was not sure about travel to the facility. Hope that helps.m

nancygt
Posts: 86
Joined: Jan 2010

I just had that conversation with my gynological oncologist yesterday. I was Stge 3A, Grade 3,diagnosed 11/08. My treatment regimen was similar to many here-hysterectomy/oopharectomy (no pelvic lymph node spread) followed by the "sandwich protocol" which was 3 treatments carboplatin/taxol, then 6 weeks external radiation, 3 brachytherapy to viginal cuff, then 3 more Carboplatin/taxol. My CA 125 is a diagnostic marker as it went from 450 post surgery down to 9. First 3 month check up was okay- CA 125 went up to 21. But next 3 month was 179 and CT/PET showed activity in lymph nodes near liver. Biopsy confirmed it was recurrence anf I am scheduled to meet on targeted radiation tomography tomorrow.With a recurrence only 6 months out from treatment, I am shaken and want to consult with another major cancer center even though I really like and trust my doctor. He was great and he said he had no ego on the topic and it is my life. He felt 2 best institutions were UAB or M.D. Anderson. I chose M.D. Anderson becasue they have worldwide reputation, large gyn oncology dept including genetics, and seem to be very active in getting clinical trials (one upcoming involving Herceptin being used for UPSC as it has proven effective for breast cancer. he did say his experience is that most insurance does pay for second opinion/consulltation but was not sure about travel to the facility. Hope that helps.m

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I spent all of Nov and most of Dec receiving daily radiation treatment at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston. Lived in an extended care hotel for a very reasonable monthly rate, room included a full kitchen. An hourly shuttle bus made getting to and from treatment a snap. And the people there were so friendly and accommodating it became a home away from home for me. If you need info on the accommodations available let me know.

The people staying in these extended care facilities in Houston had some from all over the world. Many of them were seeking second opinions after being treated elsewhere. For a lot of them M. D. Anderson was where they were sent when treatment had not been successful elsewhere. I never heard one negative thing about the place. Although it is a large place there are so many ways that they make you feel like a person instead of a number.
The volunteer staff are all cancer survivors and there are hospitality rooms available all over the facility to make you comfortable. I love the warm blankets they bring if you need to take a nap in one of the rooms available for napping during the day.

I think getting a second opinion for such a serious matter is prudent, and would encourage it. When I started having symptoms and went to my local doctor, he wanted to send me to a local gynecologist for diagnosis. I went and the gynecologist wanted to do a biopsy. I said thanks but, I will go to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center if there is any chance of cancer. That was in July/09. Had surgery in Oct after test confirmed uterine cancer.
The method there is of a team treating you. Not only do you have a primary care physician there is a team that decides a teatment plan designed specifically for your needs. And they are aggressive with their approach, for which I am grateful.

Here's hoping for the very best treatment for everyone. Norma

SI
Posts: 21
Joined: Jan 2010

Aeaea,
I finally received a bill for the 2nd opinion today and it was only slightly over $200.00.
It included a physical exam, consult and a full review of the lab slides and all medical records. Hope that is helpful and that the info is still timely for you.
Sending you wonderful wishes!
SI

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