As it has been rightly said before “A second opinion never hurts whether it is in medicine or in politics”. Cancer is one of the dreaded disease of the global world & people often feel helpless and directionless on how to cope with its treatment. Most of us are scared, confused or anxious not because we want to start our treatment immediately but whether this treatment is appropriate and have all avenues been explored for clinical efficacy.
While we take all the necessary measures to ensure best possible consultation and treatments, many a time one is baffled with the information and pieces of advice given and perplexed about what the next steps should be. If there is a reasonable doubt then a second opinion is what we should look for.
A second opinion can be the first-rate tool when planning treatment after a cancer diagnosis. The most common reasons for going in for a second opinion are when you are unsure about diagnosis or treatment or when you want more information about your condition. Cancer patients rely heavily on their doctors to build treatment plans that provide the best chances for positive outcomes. While this trust is an important component of cancer care, patients shouldn’t shy away from seeking a second opinion before beginning their treatment. While some may think it is a common practice to seek a second opinion for cancer, you will be shocked to know that a vast majority of newly diagnosed cancer patients don’t get a second opinion.
Many of the cancer patients look towards their doctors for second opinion option however sometimes it is necessary that we as patients or caregivers take the onus and find appropriate institutions who would facilitate these opinions. One of the most common worries for patients is whether their current doctor would be supportive of this second opinion. Everyone needs to know that a good oncologist would always support a second opinion.
With the digital world taking the healthcare industry to the next level, there are a plethora of options where patients can get access either for a second opinion or travel for their treatment. As most doctors would agree it is imperative to take opinions from regulated companies connected with worlds best institutions and have access to different health systems for cancer care.
As a Nigerian man has rightly said, I feel more comfortable to ask for an opinion from London rather than Germany due to language barriers. However, this does not deter patients from Namibia who take their second opinions from Germany which has the highest survival rates in the modern world for cancer care. A lot of people from SAARC nations, Middle Eastern and African nations take opinions from Indian consultants who are renowned and provide affordable options. Each health system works differently for cancer care, from the USA to London to Germany to India. Each system has its positives and it is up to us to decide what we are looking for and thus engagement of the patient is key for better cancer care outcomes.
Second opinions information whether we are on the right course of treatment, or provide information on alternative treatment options or if any further screening & investigations are needed. It may also allow you to think about new targeted therapies, immunotherapy, clinical trials, genetic testing and importing life-saving medicines for prolonging survival.
Cancer care is collaborative and everyone works as a team to fight this disease. Seeking a second opinion is your right and helps you make informed decisions about your treatment. Don’t just leave this civil right to anyone else, take your own decisions for your own care.