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Second opinion

Posts: 45
Joined: Oct 2011

How many of you have gotten second opinions?

My husband keeps getting people telling him he should get a second opinion for the surgery. The surgeon he has right now is supposed to be very good. Should he get a second opinion and if so what does he need. Just his records? Will they do more tests on him? Does insurance cover second opinions? And if it's a different opinion how do you know which to go with?

So confused.


th_in_canada's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Nov 2011

I got my first second opinion a year and a half ago and it was the same as my doctor's opinion. So that gave me more confidence. In the last few months I have gotten several "second opinions" for treatment and they were not the same. Unfortunately, I had to go with the one that didn't cost me anything which was "do nothing".
Different hospitals have different procedures for the 2nd opinions. Some charge and some don't. Some have specific requirements for what they want sent. I sent cd's with scans as well as many reports. The big centers have information for second opinions/appointments on their websites.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Michele

You've got a truckload of questions this evening:)

I'll try and answer a few of them. First of all, folks that are "not in the know" about cancer try to be well meaning, because they don't anything else to do, so all of a sudden, they become doctors.

You asked if any of us have gotten second opinions? I actually did. I switched my cancer center and went to a teaching hospital and our cancer center is now an NCI institute. I made a good move there by getting a new onc and a surgical, colorectal and radiation team to keep me on the road.

Getting a 2nd opinion is never a bad idea. It can be a very good idea. The thing you have to ask yourself is, "Do you feel comfortable with this surgeon?" If you have that good gut feel and trust his skills, then maybe you stay with this surgeon.

If you felt like you could not trust, or believe in what the procedure or treatment was about, then that's really the good time to go for a 2nd opinion. It's absolutely vital that you trust your medical team at all times - or it could be time for a change.

And of course, you can get a 2nd opinion even if you are not concerned. You have to do what it takes to make you feel comfortable...and that varies from person to person, so only you will know.

If he were to get a 2nd opinion, yes you would need his records either sent over or picked up by you and hand delivered - that guarantees no mistakes there. The surgeon would review the case - probably call you both in for an initial consult - they would probably do a CT scan before scheduling surgery, because the surgeons like the latest scan information for surgery.

Insurance does usually cover a 2nd opinion....I would check first, but if they do not and you felt strongly, pay out of pocket then....you want to be sure as you can. Insurance companies usually just don't let you get opinion after opinion....but they did not deny me.

If you have a HMO type of plan, you might need a referral....if you were a PPO, you could choose your own doctor.

Now, if you get a 2nd opinion - who do you believe? If we knew the answer to this, Michelle, we could bottle and sell it for double on Sundays, LOL!

The truth here is that you have to compare what is being said and use your gut instinct on which way to go. If they both agree on protocol, you choose who you have the trust in. If they differ, find out why they do and consider what they say. At that point, you might even consider a 3rd opinion if the info was vastly different.

It sounds like you got a good guy in place already. Unless you feel "something", getting a 2nd opinion will involve time and money - tests and appointments....and you delay the surgery.

And possibly just to get you to where you are right now. There is just no way to really know. I wish it were easy, but just trust your instinct and what your husband wants to do.

Forget the rest of "your husband's people", who are readily trying to 'fix' the problem right now. You guys team up - talk it over - weigh the evidence - do what you want to do -and then make the decision - and then don't look back.

We're only moving forward after we make the decision. No regrets, no 2nd guessing. We're gonna' put our energies on the fight instead.

You feel confused now, because you are a little wary and hearing others question your approach has you re-thinking right now. Sleep on it and I feel the confusion will turn to clarity and in fairly short order.

I want to hear more about this when you both know more. Until then, the best of luck with everything. Stay focused - stay driven - the surgery is what we all work so hard for. It's #1 in our arsenal of weapons.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6706
Joined: Feb 2009

A lot of people get a second opinion. Stayed with my radologist and oncologist, but got second opinion on surgeon and it made a big difference. You should also look to see how much experience the doctor has behind them. My first surgeon had 9 years and the surgeon I chose had over 20 and felt so much better with him than the first. Not sure about your insurance, but you could call and ask them. Staying within your network most doctors can get your info from a main data source. Good luck.


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

If I had taken the first Oncologist's recommendations, I would be staring up at the roses right now, and not responding to you. Not to seem to grim, but the other opinions I received agreed with each other, and was far more aggressive then the first Oncologist. Then it was a matter of whom gave the best service.

Cancer round 2, I did the same. All three oncologists recommendations were the same, and they all gave each other good reviews. I stayed with the same facility that I had started with because i already knew their level of service. The additional recommendations gave us a real peace of mind.

Best Always, mike

Posts: 45
Joined: Oct 2011

Thank you everyone.

Craig, I like the statement "my husbands people" and that they all think they are docs. That is so true. Whenever you get sick everyone knows everything. I wonder where they got there degree from :)

But all the information is really appreciated. I feel comfortable with this surgeon and I think my husband too. It's just he's getting too many opinions. I'll update when he decides what to do.


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

All I can add to everything is to do what Kim suggested with doing a background check to see where/when they got their education. I got a second opinion and needed someone in my insurance network to carry out my new oncologists protocol and when I did, I wanted to make sure my Onc wasn't too young to be inexperienced yet too old to be set in their ways. I also wanted to avoid ones that were "liberated" when we invaded Granada in the 1980s. Who does what first makes a HUGE difference in how things go. You don't need doctors to repair what someone screwed up.

You and your husband sound happy with the doctors you have. My input is in case down the road you need to find other doctors.

RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Feb 2010

I got a second opinion, but I found "and your ugly too" to be less than helpful.

No, seriously, I did get a second opinion each and evey time I had need of a new treatment schedule or surgery. What I received was confirmation of the initial dx/advice and peace of mind that I was doing the "right" thing.

The only time I did not get a second opinion was if I should marry my wife and it turns out that after more than 30 years I did not need it. She is simply the best.

Kenny H.'s picture
Kenny H.
Posts: 503
Joined: Aug 2010

Well Im getting my 1st 2nd opinion.
Not on my surgery (was successful) but on now with mets to lungs. Not that I doubted my Onc dx or treatment next, just such major news I really want to know what treatment options ect lie ahead.
I mentioned it to my Onc and he agreed also so setting me up to go talk to the folks at MD Anderson since Im only a 3hr drive away. I have a feeling they will tell me nothing much different but want to hear from the experts on going on indefinate chemo, options ect.

They just got all my records ect thursday and are being reviewed. Will keep you all informed as I find out what they say.

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I've never personally went out and got a second opinion, although the cancer boards did not want to let me have my surgeries and with my pushing my oncologists kept sending my case from the first to the second and then through the back way by talking and having me checked out by an oncologist who got me to finally be approved by the third board try, I guess you could call that a second opinion if we pushed it.
I had faith in my oncologist for some reason (even though he predicted my death in 4 to 6 months after diagnosis, he still went about trying to save me from that fate, which I think is different then predicting your demise soon and going forward with the premise)and the surgeons that eventually cut out my cancerous tumors I felt were excellent in each of their fields, so I never got a second opinion from any other oncologists or surgeons.
HOWEVER, having said that, I think that the others are right in recommending that getting a second opinion, with cancer can't hurt, it's your life.
And 2nd opinions are usually always paid for by your insurance company, if your unsure, give your insurance company a call, they'll let you know.
Winter Marie

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