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A Second Opinion May Save Your Life

All too often, patients are diagnosed with a severe condition or terminal illness and do not get a second medical opinion. Yet, those same people will shop around for a car, house, even a college. Why spend so much time on a purchase, yet so little time on your health?

Medical second opinions can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine having a lung, breast, or prostate removed only to find out later that you were misdiagnosed. This is your life you are putting in the hands of others. So before getting treatment, get a second medical opinion! Not convinced yet? Read on.


Why Do I Need A Medical Second Opinion?

Getting a second opinion allows you to not only confirm the diagnosis, but also to get a different perspective on your treatment options. Some doctors are more conservative and others more aggressive.

When Should I Get A Second Opinion?

There is no straight forward answer for when you need a second opinion. You should evaluate your situation to determine what is best for you. The information provided in this article addresses many of the common situations encountered by newly diagnosed patients. It will give you guidance for determining if you need a second opinion.


My Doctor Told Me There is No Beneficial Treatments For Me. So Why Should I Get A Second Opinion?

Many times patients are told there's no hope and that no further treatment exists that would be beneficial. So, what do you have to lose by getting a second opinion? Sometimes tumors deemed inoperable by one surgeon are found to be operable by another. Sometimes close examination of the case could change the diagnosis from one kind of cancer to another, more treatable type. Sometimes another doctor will know of a promising treatment that the first one didn't know about. All of these things have and continue to happen.


My Doctor Said My Cancer is "Borderline" and I Probably Don't Need Treatment At This Time, So Why Should I Get A Second Opinion?

If you're hearing words such as "almost", "possible", "probably", "maybe", "chances", "unlikely", etc., you should, most definitely, get a second opinion. For instance, if your doctor says, "Your tumor is probably inoperable, and the chances of removing all of the cancer are unlikely", get a second opinion. Or, more obvious (and yes, it does happen) if your doctor suggests a treatment that just sounds "off the wall" to you, get a second opinion. For instance, if your doctor says "All the cancer in your bladder is gone, but I think we should remove your bladder anyway", get a second opinion. Conversely, if your doctor suggests "waiting" to see what happens, get a second opinion. Some cancers grow very fast. If you wait too long, you may find that it's now too late.


I Live In A Rural Area Where Expertise is Scarce. Should I Get A Second Opinion?

If you live in a rural area and get treatment at a small hospital, it may be beneficial to get a second opinion from a doctor at a major hospital. It's not to say that you can't get good treatment from a small rural hospital, but typically the doctor lives in the rural area, also, and may not be as tuned in to new treatments as doctors at a major, urban hospital.

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