Medical second opinions and a cancer diagnosis should go hand-in-hand
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. It was responsible for approximately 9.6 million deaths in 2018. That means 1 in 6 deaths is a result of cancer. When you are diagnosed with a serious medical illness, such as cancer, it is difficult to understand how best to navigate your next steps. It is even difficult to access the information and resources needed to make sure you have the best outcome possible. That is why obtaining a medical second opinion makes sense.
Why getting a medical second opinion is important
A correct diagnosis is the most important factor when facing a cancer diagnosis. This is because every type of cancer requires a specific treatment that could involve multiple specialties including:
Before you go too far down the wrong treatment path, a medical second opinion can confirm your diagnosis and then provide you and your treating physician with optimal treatment suggestions. Other important things medical second opinions provide include:
Six benefits of getting a medical second opinion
- Access to expertise – While some medical second opinions have one physician review your medical records, a clinically-enhanced approach involves harnessing the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team of leading specialists from world-class academic hospitals and bringing it directly to you and your doctor. Empowering you both with the information and resources needed to make on-going decisions with confidence.
- Simplicity – Rather than trying to navigate the complicated healthcare system by yourself, a medical second opinion virtually recreates what it would be like if you were to visit one of the top-ranked hospitals in person. Simply bringing a virtual team of specialists to you and your doctor without the hassle or costs of having to go anywhere.
- Reassurance – Often, having a medical second opinion introduces you and your doctor to additional treatment options based on your particular type/stage of cancer that you may not have known about before. It helps your doctor continue to manage your care in the most effective means possible.
- Reinforcement – Most medical second opinions allow for interactivity between your doctor and the consulting specialist. This can be a follow-up call directly between your doctor and the specialist, often within a set timeframe from completion of the medical second opinion.
- Quality – While some medical second opinions have one physician simply review your current records, a clinically-sound medical second opinion goes much further. Often, re-reading pathology and radiology. Medical second opinion reports can vary as well. Some are just one or two pages and include just the medical second opinion results. Others, are much more in-depth and include the medical second opinion results as well as additional information and resources that help guide your next steps.
- Service – While almost all medical second opinions use some data analytics as a part of the service, others ensure the human element is front and center. Assigning a clinician to each member from initiation of the service to completion. High-quality medical second opinion services go beyond that by providing customized coaching questions for the member to discuss with their doctor and the opportunity for their doctor to speak directly to the lead specialist involved in their case.
What to do next
If you have been diagnosed with a serious medical illness such as cancer, you should seek out a medical second opinion. You can start by asking your employer or insurer if you have one available to you as a part of your benefits or insurance coverage. If not, perhaps suggesting they consider one in the future to help others facing serious medical illness and suggesting they reach out to us to learn more.