For many people, receiving a cancer diagnosis can leave them feeling uncertain about what to do next. In some situations, a person may have the opportunity to select from more than one form of treatment. In other situations, a doctor may provide only one option, but the patient may not always understand or prefer that option.
Consulting with another medical professional at a time like this may offer people a new way to think about their health and what they would like to do.
When a second opinion may help
The American Cancer Society indicates that one situation that may warrant getting a second medical opinion is when an experimental treatment may be available. Another situation involves a diagnosis that may be for a rare condition or that a person does not fully understand. Prior to undergoing very invasive treatments, a person may also wish to get input from another medical professional.
Benefits of a second medical opinion
As explained by WebMD, the process of making decisions about treatment options for any type of cancer may benefit from additional information or points of view. Talking with a different doctor may provide this and allow a person to feel more confident in the choices they make.
Different physicians and even medical practice groups may adopt unique approaches to care and treatments. Some, for example, may tend to be more aggressive with treatments early on while others take a more reflective approach, choosing to wait first before recommending extreme treatments.
Many people may feel uneasy about asking for a second opinion, but doctors welcome this level of proactivity and may even offer referrals for the second opinion.