Why is a Second Opinion Important?
The first reason why patients should seek a second opinion after a diagnosis is that mesothelioma in all its forms is a very rare type of cancer. The majority of doctors may not have the experience or necessary tools to identify and understand its complexities.
In addition, it’s possible that in an initial diagnosis doctors misinterpreted biopsy results. They may have overestimated or underestimated how far the disease has spread. A second opinion can confirm a diagnosis or in some cases provide you with a new diagnosis altogether. A new diagnosis also may yield more promising treatment options.
Finally, 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.
Goals of a Second Opinion
Before getting a mesothelioma diagnosis from another doctor, it’s important to understand the goals of seeking a second opinion.
A second opinion may help you:
1. Improve Survival
Getting a second opinion can lead to a longer life. A misdiagnosis will prevent you from getting the best treatment available. Patients who don’t get treatments tailored to a correct diagnosis may have a shorter life expectancy. A second opinion can lead to treatment courses that increase life expectancy by months or even years.
2. Obtain New Treatments
You can also seek a second opinion if you want to learn about new treatment options. If a second opinion results in a different diagnosis, you will likely be presented with different treatment options altogether.
Treatment options are selected based on very specific factors about the disease. A new treatment plan can better support a patient’s fight against mesothelioma and can possibly even help patients reach remission.
In some cases, second opinions led to new treatments for patients who now consider themselves mesothelioma survivors.
3. Act Quickly
Moving quickly to treat mesothelioma is essential to improving a patient’s life expectancy. The goal of a second opinion should be to make sure you get started on the right treatment plan as quickly as possible. Misdiagnoses can waste time with treatments that aren’t suitable. A second opinion can confirm the right diagnosis and a new treatment plan.
4. Find Peace of Mind
Sometimes after a diagnosis, you may feel that something isn’t right. A second opinion can give you peace of mind. It can also help you feel more empowered and confident in your health care team and your treatment plan.
You can’t put a price on peace of mind, so be sure to seek a second opinion as soon as possible if you feel uncertain.
Always Seek a Second Opinion
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.
With this knowledge, mesothelioma specialists can create a treatment plan they feel will best increase your chance of survival based on their expertise. Contact a mesothelioma specialist today to get a second opinion on your diagnosis.