Mesothelioma Second Opinions

If you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, the first thing you should do is confirm the diagnosis with a mesothelioma specialist at a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Getting a Second Opinion for Mesothelioma

Even if you feel confident in your diagnosis and your prescribed treatment plan, you should always seek a second opinion from a specialist. Mesothelioma specialists are trained in the complexities of this unique and rare form of cancer. They can recognize sets of symptoms that are congruent with asbestos exposure.

Additionally, mesothelioma specialists are experts in the histology (a study of cells) of mesothelioma and can confirm the most intricate parts of a mesothelioma diagnosis, including cell types.

Most medical professionals will be completely fine with you wanting a second opinion and may even recommend it themselves.

There are several reasons you should receive a second opinion, including:

  • Eliminate any chance of misdiagnosis
  • Better understand your mesothelioma
  • Connect with the world’s top mesothelioma specialists
  • Be confident in your treatment strategy
  • Improve your survival outcome

Consider that even the world’s top mesothelioma specialists tend to work on multidisciplinary teams. Even the best of the best have to rely on the advice and expertise of a range of experts when diagnosing and treating mesothelioma in any patient.

They know that mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that needs a collaborative approach — it only makes sense that you would use a similar tactic and seek advice beyond your regular doctor or oncologist.

Get Your Second Opinion Quickly

A mesothelioma diagnosis can come as a shock. You may react in a number of different ways, and your reaction may come as a surprise to you or your family. Know that “strange” reactions are completely normal and it’s okay to take some time to process the information.

However, try to persevere through your emotions and get a second opinion on your diagnosis quickly, as it may have a direct impact on your overall outcome.

Because of the ways in which symptoms develop, many patients aren’t aware that they have mesothelioma until they are in the later stages of the disease, where every day can make a difference.

Getting your second opinion as quickly as possible is critical to properly diagnose the disease and effectively combat it. Get a second opinion as soon as you can if you have recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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Top Reasons For A Second Opinion

Mesothelioma misdiagnosis is unfortunately still a common occurrence.

Because mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer, many oncologists may not readily be familiar with the way it presents or behaves and don’t accurately identify the disease when they see it.

Both false positive and false negative mesothelioma diagnoses are common, which is why you need to get a second opinion if your tests indicate you have mesothelioma.

You should never feel bad about seeking a second opinion. You are in charge of your health, so you should feel empowered to make decisions that will help you survive and live a healthy life. Part of this means you’ll need to seek other professional opinions that can help you better understand your disease and confirm what you’re dealing with.

Prevent a Critical Misdiagnosis

Even once mesothelioma has been correctly diagnosed, you still need a second opinion to help confirm the disease stage.

Mesothelioma stages don’t always look the way the stages do in other types of cancer. Therefore, it’s critical that a specialist reviews and confirms your mesothelioma stage.

Connect With Top Mesothelioma Experts

There are a few dozen mesothelioma specialists in the United States who have an advanced understanding of the disease. Once diagnosed, it’s in your best interest to connect with one of these individuals.

Mesothelioma is diagnosed by human beings interpreting a series of test results, which means the interpretation is only as good as that individual’s experience with mesothelioma.

Not only will a mesothelioma specialist confirm your diagnosis, but they are also your best chance at developing a treatment strategy that will help you fight it.

Mesothelioma specialists have devoted a significant portion of their career to diagnosing and treating mesothelioma, giving them insight that other oncologists and doctors simply don’t have

Better Understand Your Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma doesn’t behave like other cancers. As a result, oncologists who are unfamiliar with the disease may not be able to answer all of your questions, or they may even do so inaccurately.

Fully understanding your disease will empower you to make the decisions that are right for you and your family.

When you get a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist, you’ll be able to ask each and every question you have and be confident in the information that’s being shared.

Even hearing the same information for the second time can help you better absorb it and understand what’s happening in your body. In addition, studies have proven in-depth conversations about a diagnosis improve quality of life.

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Develop the Right Strategy

Mesothelioma experts across the nation have different ideas about the ideal treatment strategy.

For example, some surgeons are strong advocates of removing the lung for pleural mesothelioma patients, while others feel just as strongly about saving it.

In addition, the procedures available to you may be dictated by the facility your doctor works from — especially if they aren’t located at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.

By speaking to at least two cancer specialists, you’ll have a better overall picture of your options and be able to develop a treatment strategy that’s right for you and your family. Information is empowering and you’ll be more confident in the treatment plan you decide to pursue after you’ve received a second opinion.

Improve Survival and Quality of Life

When you receive a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist, you may learn of new treatments or options that other oncologists simply aren’t aware of.

Mesothelioma specialists are more likely to be on top of the latest treatment options and, in some cases, can even connect you with clinical trials for brand new mesothelioma treatments that aren’t yet available to the general public.

Where Do I Get A Second Opinion?

Mesothelioma is a rare disease and not all oncologists are able to properly diagnose the disease.

When getting a second opinion, choose a mesothelioma specialist who works at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center and has worked with mesothelioma patients for several years. If possible, you should also choose a cancer center that has a designated mesothelioma program, although not all centers do.

Mesothelioma specialists are highly experienced with the rare condition, while comprehensive cancer centers are more likely to have the tools, machines, and resources needed to best treat mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma specialists can help you understand your condition and develop a strategy for fighting it. They are the best choice for your second opinion.

How Do I Get A Second Opinion?

Accessing the world’s top mesothelioma specialists is easier than most people think. In many cases, you simply have to ask for one.

The exact process will depend on the hospital and doctor you’d like to work with but will look something like this:

  • Choose an NCI-designated cancer center with a mesothelioma program
  • Contact the hospital and ask to become a patient
  • Get your physician to submit a referral form (if required)
  • Send your complete medical history, including any scans, to the hospital
  • Schedule your first appointment

While some of the nation’s top cancer hospitals require a formal referral, many don’t.

Regardless, mesothelioma specialists understand the urgency required in creating a treatment plan, and delays will be minimal for people diagnosed with mesothelioma if they contact a hospital with a mesothelioma program.

In many cases, mesothelioma patients can schedule an appointment within just a few days.

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Who Pays For A Second Opinion?

Most insurance companies recognize the value of second opinions and will cover the costs after a cancer diagnosis. In fact, some insurance providers won’t even pay for cancer treatments until you’ve received a second opinion.

Be sure to check with your provider for your specific coverage details and find out what their limitations are for choosing a mesothelioma specialist.

For more information on connecting with a mesothelioma specialist for a second opinion, contact us today.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Reviewed by:Dr. Assuntina Sacco

Board-Certified Oncologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Assuntina Sacco, MD is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Moores Cancer Center, where she also serves as the Medical Director of Infusion Services. She is a board-certified medical oncologist trained to treat all solid tumor types, with the use of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and clinical trials.

Dr. Assuntina Sacco is an independently paid medical reviewer.

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. We help give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma.

View 2 References
  1. National Cancer Institute. “Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Advanced Cancer.” Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/questions. Accessed on January 1, 2018.
  2. Cancer.net. “Seeking a Second Opinion.” Retrieved from https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/cancer-basics/cancer-care-team/seeking-second-opinion. Accessed on January 1, 2018.

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