Second opinions

Derbygirl Member Posts: 198
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I've read about getting second opinions to be sure treatment is right. Did anyone do that, which doctor and what was the outcome?


  • mgm42
    mgm42 Member Posts: 491 Member
    My medical oncologist prescribed chemotherapy followed by horomonal therapy after radiation. The chemo was not what I expected. I thought I had the lumpectomy and would have radiation and then Arimidex. End of story. But, she recommended chemo! I was devastated. I defnietely wasn't expecting this because I was a Stage IB. And, I was frightened of chemo. Before I could tell her I wanted a second opinoin, she suggested a clinical trial, the TailoRx. As a result, my tissue was sent out for an Oncotype test. This test determined what my chances of recurrence were without chemo. Because I tested for high risk of recuurence, there was no longer any question in my mind, and fear or not, I needed chemo. Therefore, the Oncotype test served as my second opinion. If it hadn't been for that test, I would have had another oncologist review my pathology report to see if I really needed chemo.

    I'm happy with my treatment decision and I hope you will feel confident with your doctors and your decisions, too. Marilynn
  • Eil4186
    Eil4186 Member Posts: 949
    I had a second opinion and both doctors were in agreement, which put my mind to rest.
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    I did not do that, but I think it would be a good idea for anyone who is not totally comfortable with the Dr. they have. What I did was to look on research websites to see if my Oncologist's name showed up anywhere, and he did show up. He has done quite a bit of research and other Drs. had similar opinions on the same topics. Also the center I go to had an article about him with information on 2 places he has worked at before. I looked into both places and they are reputable places. Also, everything he told me about my situation matched information I looked up in other places, so I am convinced he knows what he's doing. I also spoke to some of the other patients at the center who have dealt with him. Mostly good experiences...some not so good, but Drs. are human and patients have different personalities. I think I would do the same with another Dr. if I was going to get a second opinion. If my search had led me to believe he did not know his stuff, I would have ditched him early on and looked for a second, third, or fourth opinion. I think you have to do what makes you feel confident that you are getting the best treatment you can get. YOU are the one who has to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

    Take care, seof
  • NorcalJ
    NorcalJ Member Posts: 187
    Go with your gut. The fact that you're asking this means you're thinking about it.
    I went to a University hosp. for my 2nd opinion. And the 2nd doc was head and tails above the first---at least in my rapport with him. Some of the treatment stayed the same that the first one suggested, but my confidence in the 2nd was what made me feel so much better.
    Most insurance co.s will pay for a 2nd and actually expect you to get one.
    If your current Dr. cannot recommend someone outside his practice, call ACS, or a Cancer Center near you, or a University. Or ask your primary. The opinion my just end up the same, but it will give you something to base your decisions on---and bottom line---YOU are the one making the decisions.
    Good Luck!
  • jagged
    jagged Member Posts: 55
    I have had cancer three times; once BC, twice CUPS. Twice I've gone for second opinions, different occurances.

    The first time was a waste of time. I did not understand what all the Doctor needed ahead of time to do an adequate job, and nether did his staff.

    The second time was different. The staff required a bunch of records upfront. When I saw the Doctor, he was totally prepared. I was very happy that I got his opinion.

    In both cases, my intent was to keep my first Doctor, which I did. He knew every step I took with the second opinions. The goal was information and treatment recommendations to take back and discuss. He actually welcomed the input.

    If your goal is to shop Doctors, the above is still a good way to handle it. You may just find the doctor you have is fine, and want to make sure communications don't get screwy.

    Often, Doctors consult with colleaques, so for a different opinion, go to a totally different reputable institution. If you don't plan to switch Doctors, you could fly to another city for the consult and have treatment locally.

    One other thing: Doctors write up notes following your visit. You can request to view these records. Sometimes more sinks in when you see it in black and white.

    Good luck.

  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    I had read that if the doctor says you need a mastectomy that you should go for a second opinion. My first doctor did recommend a mastectomy (modified radical with axillary node dissection) based on the fact I had ductal carcinoma in two very small spots, the largest being 4 mm. I went for the second opinion at the best teaching hospital within driving distance. The surgeon there who much prefers lumpectomies also said I needed a mastectomy because I was built small, but he said a simple mastectomy should be suffiecient. Also, he stated that a sentinel node operation was standard procedure and that he would only take more nodes if the first one or two sampled were infected with cancer. As I am fairly active and very accident prone (scratches and bug bites can cause lymphedema), I went with the second surgeon and never looked back. I liked my first doctor, but he was older and came from the school where "more tissue gone the better". That USED to be the standard. Research has since proved that as long as you have clear margins, more is NOT better. American doctors were slower to agree with that research, but most doctors trained in the last ten years should follow what's current. As I lived in a small town far from a teaching hospital, my doctors here were not qualified to do the sentinel node operation. Therefore, they did not offer it nor did they mention it to patients. I learned from the getgo that when you have something like cancer, it pays to read a lot or see someone for a second opinion that reads alot. When they confirm that you need chemo or a mastectomy, it really takes the stress off. And when you find that there are even better alternatives like the sentinel node operation vs. a regular dissection, it's a life-saver!