What Is A Second Opinion?
Hey Mom and Dad,
Let’s chat, Cancer Parent to Cancer Parent, about seeking a second opinion.
I’ll be the first to admit I was very nervous when seeking a second opinion.
I did not want my child’s team to feel insulted or think that I didn’t trust them. We LOVE our team, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they love our daughter.
And guess what? After receiving the second opinion, the first thing our primary doctor said was “Never feel bad about seeking a second opinion.”
In the immortal words of artist and rapper Macklemore, let’s talk about “What it is. What it does. What it isn’t.”
What it is:
A second opinion is defined as an independent professional review and assessment of a patient’s illness. A doctor, who is not currently treating your child, carefully reviews the treatment plan and confirms the diagnosis, offers advice, education, and may suggest alternative treatments.
What it does:
A second opinion gives you more options. Different hospitals and doctors offer different treatments.
Having multiple options for care gives you more tools in your toolbox when deciding how to treat your child’s cancer.
We’ve learned that with cancer, especially when there is a relapse, there is no one fits all care. You may find a treatment or clinical trial that is better suited for your child, their cancer, and your family.
It gives you peace of mind. Sometimes a second opinion confirms the diagnosis and treatment plan your doctor has set in place. Knowing multiple providers agree on your child’s care can be very assuring during a very uncertain time.
It gives you additional education on your child’s case. The more you know, the more you can advocate for your child. The doctor providing the second opinion may assist you in determining what questions to ask your child’s primary care provider.
Knowing what to ask is beneficial.
What it isn’t:
When you are seeking a second opinion, you are not betraying your child’s current doctor and providers. They will not be offended.
Your child’s provider wants what’s best for your child.
The childhood cancer community is tightly knit, and the experts want to consult with each other. They want to learn from each other.
New treatments and trials come out often. It is impossible for one doctor to know everything.
Some laws inhibit hospitals and doctors from sharing information without your consent, but by seeking a second opinion, you are allowing another doctor to have access to your child’s medical records, labs, and images.
A fresh set of eyes on your child’s case may help your doctor see something new too!
So, it’s OK. Don’t be scared. Get a second opinion. Get a third and fourth if you feel that’s what’s best. Keep asking questions. Keep advocating for your child. And keep fighting for a cure.
Rally Mom Katy