• Second opinions?

    Asked by Pangea422 on Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Second opinions?

    Just wanted to know if you got a second opinion when you were diagnosed with cancer? Either with your diagnosis or your form of treatment? My mom is already in treatment and I scheduled her for a second opinion appointment, but she doesn't want to see another doctor and get more blood drawn/tests done/etc. right now. She wants to wait until her first scan, see if there's any progress, and then go if there's no progress. I guess it's just frustrating for me because I would want to know if there are any other options out there and if I'm getting the best. I guess I can see her side in that she's just sick of all the doctor visits and tired from chemo.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • Jayne's Avatar

      I did get a second opinion because anytime someone is going to cut my body, I want to make sure it's for a valid reason! However, one does get very weary being a professional patient. I'm not sure how old your Mom is, but I am in my 40's and felt the same way she does! I think (if I might say this gently) that you might want to let her make that call. You can provide your opinion, and your guidance but in the end, it's really her decision. I say this because I was so insistent that my husband was going to be "cured" that i dragged him from one place to the next hoping for a differnt answer. I didn't take into account how extremely weary he was from all of this. In retrospect, I wished that I had not done that, our lives would have been more peaceful and he would have enjoyed the time he had left doing things that he enjoyed, not cooped up in a hospital recovering from another procedure. It's not an easy thing, I know.

      almost 7 years ago
    • khsherwood's Avatar

      I can understand how your mother feels about seeing more doctors. It is her right to seek a second opinion, but the timing may not be right for her. Ideally, the best time to do that is after diagnosis but before starting treatment. Once treatment has started a commitment has been made but it is not impossible. I would call the hospital that you are thinking about going to and explain the situation and see what they think. I had breast cancer. When my local doctor told me I needed a mastectomy I decided to go to a big cancer center an hour away for a second opinion. They confirmed that I needed the mastectomy, but also offered plastic surgery options that weren't available at my local hospital, so I decided to switch my care to the big cancer center. Good luck. Make some calls and go from there. Kelly

      almost 7 years ago
    • Pangea422's Avatar

      @Jayne and @khsherwood - thanks so much for both of your comments. i appreciate the advice. i did tell my mom that i'm just trying to make sure she has all options, but that it's up to her and we can just go when she feels like it. she's going to be on 1 week of rest (off all chemo) coming up next week, so hopefully she'll be able to regain her strength for the next cycle. i'll keep you in my prayers!

      almost 7 years ago
    • CherylHutch's Avatar

      I concur with the others. Ultimately, it is your mom's decision and if she is comfortable that she is getting good care with her current doctors/treatment plan, then she won't get much better anywhere else without having to go through the whole gambit again (which is very tiring psychologically and emotionally).

      It's when/if she has doubts that what she's going through is not producing the results she would like, or she just has that gut feeling that maybe she's not getting all the answers that she is entitled to... then she will start questioning whether there are other plans out there that she would be better suited for. If that ever happens, then she will be more than willing to get second and third opinions.

      Besides, if you were to get a second opinion and that opinion was to do the exact opposite of what she is doing now, plus throw in a bit of surgery... how would you know which is the best option? You have one team saying one thing and another team saying another thing... how would you know what would be the best plan to pick? Chances are, you and her would be even more confused than the confusion when one is first diagnosed and just starting out on the journey.

      Take a few deep breaths and know that the main thing is your mom IS getting treatment. Yes, she is tired... we all get tired with chemo so part of our "planning" has to be how we arrange our lives around chemo and the side affects, knowing they are totally normal to have. Chemo brings fatigue... but if she allows herself to sleep when she's tired and be active when she has energy, then it makes for a much easier treatment cycle. Tell her NOT to try and be super woman and continue all her physical activities just to prove a point. Rest when rest is needed, drink lots of fluids to help wash the toxins out of one's system, and find things to occupy one's time that don't take a lot of effort... that might mean going out to a bookstore (during the good week) and stocking up on favourite reading material, getting a PVR (I think that's a TIVO in the US) and recording all those television shows and specials one never has time to sit around and watch.. so you can sit around with a comfy blanket and a hot cup of tea, to watch at your own leisure.

      It's just a matter of reorganizing your activity priorities. Then, when the time comes for her first scan to see how the treatment is doing (yes, there is always "scan anxiety" waiting for THOSE results), she can decide that the treatment is doing what it's suppose to so carry on... or, at that time discuss with her oncologist if the treatment is working as well as it should be, if not, what are some other options. Depending on what he/she says, your mom can then decide if that's the time to get a second opinion or not.

      PS: A little tip, since things are different down in the States. I would ask for copies of ALL reports/tests/treatment plans, etc, so that if she decides to go for a second opinion, for whatever reason, she can take her copy of everything with her and that may prevent her having to have all the same tests done over again. If her current doctor can base their reasons for the current treatment plan based on all the tests/scans/etc. she's currently had, then so can a second doctor. If there's been a fair amount of time gone by, then all this documentation provides a history, which is very helpful with any new tests that might be taken.


      almost 7 years ago
    • Pangea422's Avatar

      @CherylHutch - thank you so much for your input and advice!

      almost 7 years ago
    • toosywoots' Avatar

      I'm just starting out with stage 2 possibly 3 rectal cancer and already this past week I have seen 4 different doctors. Primary Care, then colonoscopy Dr, then a specialist Surgeon, then Gynocologist, and now in a week I have set one up for a second opinion from another specialized surgeon that is a 2 1/2 hour drive away. What the first surgeon said about my choices is bad and he suggested that I don't take his word for it. I also have an appointment for a pre-set up for a psychitrist before finding all this out because of depression I was feeling before all of this and certainly plan to keep that one. If I don't have surgery first I want meds because at this point I'm almost suicidal. I have also talked with some other close friends who have had different kinds of cancer. They have all said the same thing. The more doctors you see, the more opinions you have. It can add to the confusion to have so many choices. I went through Brain Cancer last year with my husband and my children all wanted him to see who they thought might help him better. He made his choices and I helped a bit. This time, I am including the kids but it's my final choice what happens. I hope they trust me to consider what's best for me because I sure want to survive this long enough to see more grandchildren and maybe see one or more married.

      about 6 years ago

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