Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When to seek a second opinion (part I)

When should you seek a second opinion?

Where would you go to get a second opinion? 
First and foremost, kudos to you if you considering seeking a second opinion for your treatment. A recent survey showed that 70 percent of Americans don’t feel compelled to get a second opinion. Considering the many uncertainties in medicine and potentially conflicting guidance between multiple physicians, the majority of Americans may not be receiving the right treatment. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center revealed that more than half of breast cancer patients received a change in recommended treatment plan following a second opinion.

Many patients are hesitant to seek a second opinion for a variety of reasons. The most common concern expressed by patients is that their primary physician will be offended if they bring this up, and thereby be given inferior care. This couldn't be further from the truth, as second opinions "are a way of life” to most physicians according to University of Minnesota oncologist Daniel Weisdorf, M.D.

So when should you consider a second opinion? 

1. If for whatever reason you are not comfortable with the first opinion you received

2. If you have questions about the diagnosis or treatment recommended that were not answered by your physician
3. If you have concerns regarding the risk, cost, and/or long duration/invasive nature of the recommended procedure

If you find yourself in a situation similar to any of the three listed above, it’s time to take 
control of your health and seek a second opinion! Ask your primary care physician for referrals, use online resources like Zocdoc to find a physician, or even receive a second opinion from the comfort of your own home with Cleveland Clinic's 'MyConsult'.

Whichever method you choose, it’s crucial to make sure that you are prepared for your upcoming consult. A complete record of your medical history will be required wherever you go, including medical images when applicable. Ongoing research reveals that about 20% of patients are referred to another physician without any formal communication from their first doctor. Use Jack Imaging's free online case management tool to store, view and share your medical images with your health care 

To learn more about how to take control of your health and your options, check out our tutorial here


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