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When should you seek a second opinion?

Timely, correct diagnosis of cancer is important for developing an effective treatment plan. Sometimes, this means seeking out additional medical expertise beyond your current Massachusetts health care provider. Here are a few signs that it is time to consult another physician.

Sometimes, it is important to go with your gut instinct. According to the American Cancer Society, if you believe that your diagnosis is incorrect or that your doctor has misjudged the severity of your cancer, it is well within reason to obtain a second opinion. Likewise, if your doctor is openly uncertain about your diagnosis, seeking clarity from a different medical professional is often crucial.

Clear communication is essential to understanding your diagnosis and the treatment options available. Thus, if you and your doctor are unable to communicate effectively, it is a good idea to talk to another physician to make sure you have a complete picture of your diagnosis.

Furthermore, if your doctor does not specialize in the type of cancer with which you have been diagnosed, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a specialist. Consulting a second (or third or fourth) physician may be the best way to make sure that your diagnosis is accurate and that you have explored all possible treatment options.

Before you schedule an appointment with another physician, it is often a good idea to contact both your insurance company and your current doctor. The insurance company can provide information about which health care providers and treatment options are covered in your policy. Your doctor should be understanding about your desire for another perspective and in some cases may offer referrals, particularly if you need to find an oncologist who specializes in your type of cancer.

This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.


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