Second Opinion in Cancer Treatment-When and Why?

The second opinion is nothing but a reassurance or another judgment from any person for a particular problem or a situation. Similarly, sometimes second opinions are considered as decision-makers in the healthcare industry. Patient-initiated second opinions are increasing tremendously for every simple or complicated disease or disorder. The popularity of such a trend is not known.

The need for the second opinion is greater in cases such as Cancer. The situation when the patient is diagnosed with cancer is the most difficult one for him as well as the family. In one go it becomes hard for the patient to believe that he or she is diagnosed with cancer and just to reassure or reconfirm, they go for a second opinion with which they get some clarity of the diagnosis, prognosis and the treatment.


Reasons why patients seek the second opinion for cancer diagnosis and treatments:

  1. First and the foremost, to confirm the cancer diagnosis.
  2. Lack of trust in the original physician.
  3. Need for more information about the disease.
  4. Psychological satisfaction.
  5. For better treatment options.
  6. If, diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.
  7. The treating doctor does not have expertise in treating that type of rare cancer.
  8. When test results are unclear for a particular type and location of cancer.
  9. Several treatments options are available but unsure of which one to opt for.
  10. Last but not the least unsure of the diagnosis and the treatment option and want to confirm whether the planned treatment is the best preference or no.
  11. In case your doctor has suggested chemotherapy treatment and you are not sure if that is the right choice for you.


These are some common reasons for which the patients seek the second opinion. It’s not always patient-initiated; sometimes the original physician may also advise the patient for a second opinion that can be; an advice from a more experienced or a specialist in oncology discipline.

Seeking second opinions may sometime benefit the patient resulting in better treatment and perfect diagnosis but sometimes they may not yield any robust medical benefit for them.

As the second opinion for cancer treatment has advantages likewise they do have some disadvantages as well. There can be a great impact of the second opinion while deciding the treatment options for cancer, as the treatment plans are a matter of life and death for the patient.

The following can be the adverse impacts of the second opinion while choosing any treatment option for cancer;

  1. Sometimes seeking the second opinion may result in disappointment and can be distressing for the patient.
  2. Going for a second opinion can take time as the patient won’t be a priority as he or she has already seen a specialist. Like in case of leukemia treatment the patient needs to act as fast as he can to curtail the disease and start treatment
  3. The disappointment of the patient can result in increased uncertainty and can also affect the relationship of the patient with its initial physician.
  4. Going for a second opinion can sometimes also delay the patient’s existing or suggested treatment.
  5. It can also increase the workload of the physicians and can signal a lack of trust in the physician.
  6. Second opinions can be a costly affair as the other oncologists can recommend some additional diagnostic tests and consultations.
  7. There can be a difference of opinions between the two consultants or physicians.
  8. It can also lead to more confusion and can put the reasoning ability of the patient at stake.
  9. The disease can progress which in turn can make the initial treatment more intricate or sometimes unworkable.
  10. The timelines of opinions can also differ depending upon the availability of the specialists to review the patient’s case.

Cancer Rounds team helps the patient takes a second opinion in 24-48 hours. Call us and discuss your case now.

Posted by, magneto
August 3, 2019