A Guide to Getting a Second Opinion on Breast Cancer

Jan 13

Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer usually feel a sense of urgency to jump right in and start treatment immediately. In most cases though, there’s enough time to do some research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct and that your treatment plan makes sense – and this process may include getting a second opinion. However, just the mere thought of getting a second opinion can feel overwhelming at the start, especially when you’ve just been diagnosed with this serious condition. No need to worry though, since we’re here to walk you through the whole process of getting a second opinion.

Why Get a Second Opinion

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is already a good reason to seek a second opinion. Most people don’t consider shopping around before buying a car, or making other major purchases. In the case of breast cancer diagnosis, it’s critically important to seek another opinion before making a decision about the treatment you’ll have.

You’ll likely be advised to change your treatment plan after seeking a second opinion from a group of Singapore oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists. Understand that even the most qualified and skilled doctors have different opinions about the best treatment option for your breast cancer type and situation.

When to Seek a Second Opinion

It’s possible to get a second opinion at any point of your breast cancer care process. Still, it’s a much better idea to seek one before starting any cancer treatment, since getting a second opinion will likely change the details of diagnosis, breast cancer screening tests, treatment options, or even the course of your entire treatment plan.

Getting a second opinion usually takes up to a few weeks. In most case though, this delay won’t be a problem and won’t interfere with your treatment’s efficacy. Just make sure that you confirm with your specialist that waiting a bit before undergoing a particular treatment is completely fine.

How to Ask for a Second Opinion

Most breast cancer patients are not comfortable about asking their for another doctor’s second opinion after doing a breast cancer screening test in Singapore. They’re afraid that they might offend their current doctor and damage their relationship that’s just beginning to take shape. After all, he or she’s a highly qualified person to help you in your moment of crisis – so it’s no wonder you’ll feel nervous about asking to consult another health expert. But do remember though, that specialists are used to having patients who seek second opinions, and in most cases, welcome the information other doctors provide.

Getting your doctor involved in this process is essential, since your second doctor will want to see all your medical records, breast cancer screening tests results, as well as your imaging studies to date. You’ll need your doctor’s help in getting health records that you can show your second health specialist. Also, some health insurance agencies require your specialist to get a second opinion on your condition, than by you.

Where to Go for Second Opinion

After informing your doctor, your next step is to find a doctor (or group of doctors) who’ll review your case and give you the second opinion that you want. Your best bet is to look for a breast cancer doctor that works as a part of a multidisciplinary group composed of pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, and radiation oncologists. That particular specialist will become your point person for getting second opinions from other health experts. However, there may be times where you’ll need to approach the individual experts on your own.

If you’re concerned about the costs of getting second opinions, then you may want to limit your search to Singapore specialists who’ll accept your health insurance, or to those who are part of your health plan. Also, make sure to investigate on what your insurance covers because some plans pay for certain types of second opinions but not for others. For instance, your plan may cover a pathology second opinion but not a treatment second opinion. If cost is no issue, however, then find the doctor whose expertise seems to perfectly fit your situation and needs.

How to Make Sense of a Second Opinion

In general, you can expect getting a second opinion to do one of these three things:

• Confirm Your First Doctor’s Opinion. One of the best things that seeking a second opinion does is to confirm your specialist’s opinion. This can reassure you and increase your confidence in your original breast cancer screening Singapore tests, diagnosis, and treatment plan.

• Provide More Information Without Repealing the First Opinion. Similar with confirming your doctor’s initial opinion, getting a second opinion that provides more information about your breast cancer diagnosis or other treatment options available for you can be reassuring. This way, you get to open up to other options that were not included on your first opinion, such as various treatment approaches.

• Differ or Contradict From the First Opinion. Initially, having a second opinion that completely contradicts the first opinion that you got can be quite worrisome. However, getting a different opinion from another health expert is an opportunity to ensure that you have the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for it.

Make sure that you stay objective as you weigh the information from your first and second opinion. It can be tempting to agree or assume that the ‘friendlier’ doctor is right, or to believe whoever gives the better news. You may also reach the point in this process where you and your family need to make the final decision about what course of action is right for you. But whatever you decide on, its rest assured that you made one of the most informed decision possible by seeking a second opinion.

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