Mesothelioma Second Opinions
Mesothelioma is one of the hardest diseases to properly diagnose. In order to ensure the best treatment, patients should always seek a second opinion.
Why Second Opinions?
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis from a general oncologist can be daunting, but a patient shouldn’t let it limit their treatment options. Getting a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist can open the door to many treatments that weren’t previously available. It can even lead to longer survival times. Patients should never feel hesitant to ask for a second opinion.
It is important that patients take their own prognosis into their own hands. Even after a second opinion, if a patient isn’t pleased with the treatment plan given to them, they are encouraged to seek other medical opinions.
Second Opinions Can Give Hope
Second opinions save lives. With the skills and experience that mesothelioma specialists have, they are able to properly diagnose a patient. Mesothelioma surgeons work closely with other members of their team to offer accurate treatment plans.
More Treatment Options
Many doctors are not experienced with treating mesothelioma. Based on their knowledge, they may tell a patient they’re not a surgical candidate. On the other hand, getting a second opinion from a mesothelioma expert may tell a patient the contrary. In fact, it may provide opportunities for treatment options that a patient may have been denied before.
Getting a second opinion also helps patients feel more confident about the treatment they are receiving. Being certain about a mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment plan can relieve a patient and their loved ones of stress and give them a peace of mind.
Get a Second Opinion
Why Get a Second Opinion?
- It will provide peace of mind that your diagnosis is accurate.
- It can open up new treatment options that may be more effective for you.
- Up to 60 percent of second opinions have led to a significant change in treatment and prognosis.
Asking for a Second Opinion
Patients may not feel it is necessary to ask for a second opinion. In fact, patients may feel it is a sign of disrespect to their medical practitioner. However, second opinions are essential for patients to get the best treatment possible. It’s also one of the most important ways they can take their outcome into their own hands.
Patients can simply tell their doctor they would like to get a second opinion. Sometimes a patient’s doctor may even suggest they get a second opinion from a physician specialized in mesothelioma.
In some cases, a patient may be required to travel if a specialist isn’t near them. Traveling shouldn’t prohibit a patient’s treatment options. In many scenarios, a mesothelioma specialist will consult with a patient for free, before they make any travel arrangements.
There are other ways a patient can go about getting a second opinion, such as searching through their insurance network for available mesothelioma doctors. They can also get assistance by using our free Doctor Match program.
Why You Should Seek a Second Opinion
Relative to the number of cancer physicians in the country, there are very few mesothelioma specialists. Due to the rarity of mesothelioma, cancer centers and doctors often disagree about the best methods to treat the disease. Therefore, second opinions can illuminate more paths toward treatment than the patient may have thought.
“My strong advice to patients is to always ask for a second opinion,” says mesothelioma specialist Dr. Michele Carbone.
A good example of disagreement among doctors is the pleural mesothelioma surgical debate. There are currently two surgical procedures for pleural patients: the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).
The debate ensues because the P/D doesn’t remove the whole lung like the EPP, but it also doesn’t remove as much of the tumor. Therefore, it depends on each doctor’s opinion as well as the patient’s diagnosis to determine what the best method is.
In a scenario such as this, second opinions can be essential to deter professional bias among mesothelioma specialists. Although specialists will suggest treatment with their best intentions, doctors may have unintentional bias and a second opinion can safeguard against this.
Second Opinions Before Surgery
As with any operation, whether it’s mesothelioma-related or not, a second opinion should always be made before undergoing any major surgical operation. This makes it imperative for mesothelioma patients to get a second surgical opinion, especially since operations for mesothelioma are more specialized than for other cancers.
The pros of surgeries, such as an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), may not always outweigh the cons. Mesothelioma tumors are scattered and hard to resect compared to other cancers. The added stress of the procedure may even negatively impact the patient’s quality of life.
Mesothelioma doctors are generally very thorough with their diagnoses before recommending surgery. However, being certain about the procedure suggested by a patient’s doctor can provide them with confidence and relief. Learn more about the pros and cons of surgery in our free Mesothelioma Guide.