Why get a second opinion

October 07, 2015 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Your cancer journey is as unique as you are. The treatment that may work for one person may not be the best option for you. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with cancer or if you’re currently undergoing treatment, you have the right to seek a second opinion.

There are many reasons why patients choose to get another opinion. Perhaps you have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, you're questioning your diagnosis, or your current treatment plan isn't working.

“If you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, it’s rare that you will get a different diagnosis when seeking a second opinion,” said Sharon Rimgale, program director of oncology services at Elmhurst Hospital. “However, second opinions offer you peace of mind that your diagnosis is accurate and that you are undergoing the best treatment possible for that particular form of cancer.”

One of the main reasons why patients don’t seek out a second opinion is because they don’t want to tell their current physician they would like another doctor’s point of view.

“Good physicians applaud patients to be active participants in their care and should encourage their patients to seek a second opinion,” said Alexander Hantel, M.D., director of medical oncology for Edward Cancer Center. “At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we offer a Second Opinion Clinic, which is available to any patient who wants to better understand their diagnosis and treatment options.”

If you decide to get a second opinion, go prepared. Here are some questions to ask the doctor:

  • What type of diagnostic testing do you perform?
  • How many patients have you treated with my type and stage of cancer, and how successful have you been?
  • What treatment options do you recommend?
  • What happens if a treatment approach doesn’t work for me?
  • Who will be involved in my care?
  • How will you help me manage side effects?

A cancer diagnosis can make you feel like you’ve lost control, but getting a second opinion is one way to get back in the driver’s seat of your own health.

Learn more or contact the Second Opinion Clinic

Learn more about cancer services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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