Ask for a Second Opinion

Discovering that you have advanced cancer is frightening and confusing. In some cases, it may be important to seek a second opinion. There are many reasons why you may want to seek another opinion during the course of your care.

Getting a second or third opinion is a reasonable approach. Proactive decision-making will give you a greater sense of control over your treatment. Make decisions regarding your health after you have been thoroughly informed about your diagnosis, prognosis and available treatment options.

The following tips may help as you look for another set of eyes to review your case. When looking for a second (third or fourth) opinion:

  • Look for an expert who specializes in your condition and has experience delivering care. Recommendations of friends and family members, or former patients can be beneficial in finding a second opinion.
  • Determine if your insurance will pay for a second opinion and check to see that the new specialist accepts your insurance.
  • When you schedule the appointment, clarify the facility has a specialist with experience treating your condition.
  • Take your medical records, including copies of all scans, exams, labwork, and previous treatments.
  • Clarify what you expect from the second opinion. Do you need verification that your treatment recommendation is the right one? Are you looking for options? Are you interested in clinical trials?
  • Explain why you need a second opinion and communicate your primary needs for the visit.
  • Consider your plan for next steps. Do you need to transfer your care to receive the new treatment options? Or can the treatment plan be delivered by the present team?