As health care plans continue to promote wellness and pro-active health awareness, the use of sophisticated imaging technology and pathology becomes even more widespread. Experience shows that many conditions, including certain types of cancers, can be very difficult to diagnose conclusively. While it is very common to choose a treatment plan from the first doctor you consult, taking time for a second opinion and careful consideration of alternative treatments can prove to be very wise.
Malignancies are not the only diagnoses that warrant further examination. Recent studies show that other conditions, such as coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can often be diagnosed incorrectly. If second opinions were requested for every diagnosis, the costs could never be covered. When major surgery or very costly treatment is involved, second opinions are often required.
Seeking A Second Opinion
If you take your scans, images or pathology reports to a physician for a second opinion, which you are always entitled to do, it may help to cover the following points:
- Ask the physician or specialist if he or she has reviewed all the information related to your case.
- Ask if the existing test results are adequate and if an additional test would contribute to a more firm diagnosis.
- Never be afraid to talk about what you are experiencing or ask if there could be another explanation for your symptoms or test results.
- Be sure to ask if the second opinion physician agrees with the original diagnosis as well as the proposed treatment.
If a second opinion fails to confirm a diagnosis, a third opinion may result in a consensus. Even if the second opinion confirms the diagnosis, be sure to ask if the second opinion physician would suggest a different treatment option. Ultimately, you want to be confident that all options have been considered.