• My biggest question is: Do I really have to have a second opinion if I trust the first? My sister is adamant that I get one.

    Asked by Amanda57 on Saturday, January 12, 2013

    My biggest question is: Do I really have to have a second opinion if I trust the first? My sister is adamant that I get one.

    When I had breast cancer 20 yrs ago I ended up with 3 opinions from fine doctors and all 3 were different. One said total mastectomy, one said just one side off, and one said lets do lumpectomy and radiation. I went through all of that only to end up with the doctor I went to in the first place and I had lumpectomy and radiation. I must add I had intraductal breast cancer at that time and 3 opinions only made it that much harder. Maybe 20 years on I just want to get on with it, I'm not really sure. A lot has changed since I first had breast cancer and I feel in a way I'm new at it again.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Absolutely not. I think a lot of people misunderstand the purpose of a second opinion. It is not to shop around for doctors or treatment facilities or hoping you will get an answer your most want to hear. I would suspect your oncologist has already gotten other opinions. Many oncologists participate in what is called a cancer or tumor board in which multiple doctors with varying expertise (medical oncology, radiation, surgery, immunology, etc.) review test results and provide input to the treatment plan from their areas of expertise. The final decision for any kind of treatment is always in the hands of the patient, so if you are reading to make those decisions then your opinion is the only one that matters.

      over 5 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      A second opinion can't hurt. I got one in each step of my cancer journey. My feeling is that it can't hurt to have another set of eyes on my case. Each oncologist has their own unique point of view based on the people they have treated, etc, I found my consults very helpful and put my mind to rest. The last one I got, in July of this year after my Breast Cancer Metastasized was the very helpful. The oncologist agreed with my treatment (the other ones did as well) but she recommended genetic testing - One for both of my cancers to discover what mutations were present. The 2nd was a BreastNext Panel which tests 14 genes for mutations. Based on my personal and family history, in addition to two cancers I've had multiple cysts, skin tags, fibroids etc, many of which are under observation or been removed. I was tested for BRACA in 2010 and came back negative for all subsets. I hope to have the results of the panel in the next few weeks.

      The geneticist I saw explained that the types of mutations they may find can help give me more targeted treatment options, as they now have info on what chemo works or doesn't with some of the mutations.

      I am also very lucky that my Primary and second opinion oncologists are working collaboratively to help find the best treatment plan for me.

      over 5 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      I personally did not get a second opinion because I had complete confidence in the medical team recommended to me. I did my research on my surgeon, MO, RO and would have changed in a heartbeat if I was not comfortable or confident in their proposed treatment plan. It is important that you go to a respected cancer center in your area. I originally wanted to go to a hospital close to home and my primary had to emphasize CANCER before I realized the hospital selection was pretty important. Good luck to you!!

      over 5 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Depends: You are the final answer. If you are comfortable with your dr., confident they have made the right diagnosis, then don't get a second. Why is your sister insisting you get another one? Because she feels the first is not dependable, or because she doesn't want you to have cancer and is hoping for a different answer? Both are legitimate reasons but the first is more important to consider in an objective sense. Is this a recurrence or something new? Lots of questions to be thought about. You're right that a lot has changed in 20 years.......that's something to take into consideration with your decision.

      over 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      You don't need to get a second opinion. It's up to you. One might be useful if you want more or different options for treatment or if you want peace of mind about your treatment. I haven't had one myself because I trust the oncologist and because the treatments have been effective with minimal side effects.

      over 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Definitely not. I didn't get one (and I'm known for being over-analytical.) I got a lot of pressure initially from well-intentioned people who wanted me to go a different hospital for treatment, or at least a second opinion.

      My hospital's cancer board discussed my case twice. All my questions were answered to my satisfaction by my medical providers. My "second opinion" were the legitimate websites which gave me more questions to ask. In my case, the treatment decision was clear-cut. Eight months into it, I'm still satisfied I am on the right track.

      over 5 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Amanda57, having to work for oncologists, they expect that most patients get a second opinion. In fact, many times they are the second opinion. If you like your oncologist then perhaps you should take the information given to you by a second opinion to your oncologist if it is different than his. Ask him if he thinks the 2nd approach recommended is something that you might benefit from, and if he would explore that possibility with you. They like hearing other opinions and if they think a treatment won't harm you, they are more than willing to try what was recommended to you. This way, you get an alternate opinion, and you still remain with the oncologist of your choice. Best of luck, Carm.

      over 5 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      A brother and a friend of mine keep pushing me to get a second opinion, I was referred to the tumor board twice and my case was given to a specialist and another pathologist at the Medical College to review. I believe that's enough doctors reviewing my case. You have to do what feels right for you, as you will make the final decision. You've helped me to see that enough doctors and specialists have reviewed my case. I don't need any more opinions. Good luck to you on your decision!

      over 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I consulted with 2 breast surgeons but only one oncologist...my oncologist only does breast cancer and he was highly recommended.....after our first meeting, I knew I found the right one....and both surgeons gave me the same recommendation....I ended choosing one who I could get in sooner with a PS.....Trust your "gut".....one opinion is not wrong if it is right for you

      over 5 years ago

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