Answers For YOUR Health

      Using Mother Nature's Gifts
Common Sense and Modern Medicine

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Cancer - Ask for a

Second Opinion

You may want consider getting a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment plan.  There will be a delay in starting treatment if you or your doctor requests a second opinion. 

Medical records, mammogram films, pathology reports, and biopsy slides will need to be gathered so the second doctor will have all available tools to allow them to make a diagnosis. And the second doctor may want to re-test. 

Though your treatment may be delayed, it won’t usually make that treatment less effective.  Your doctor will tell you if you are one of the patients that need to start treatment right away. 

You will want to take part in deciding on the treatments you will receive.  You may need time to recover emotionally before some of the decisions need to be made.  Shock and stress can make it difficult to think clearly about all you are hearing and you may not be able to think of all the questions you want to ask your doctor. 

Make a list of the questions you and your family need answered.  You will have it when you visit your doctor’s office and you may want to take notes or record the answers on a tape recorder so you can refer to them later. 

A family member should go with you.  Many times when you are under stress, a family member can help you stay calm, help you in your discussion with your doctor, take notes, or even just listen. 

We hear statements differently and our understanding can be skewed by stress and emotional upheaval.  If you don’t get all of your questions answered on the first visit, there will be other opportunities to talk to your doctor or nurse for further explanations. 

Some doctors may refer you to a specialist, or a cancer center where doctors work together as a team.  Local hospitals, medical schools, or a state and local medical society can provide specialists’ names.  You will also find a list of specialists by referring to the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-cancer or through LIVEHELP at their web-site

Other sources for finding specialists are, The American Board of Medical Specialties.  This list can be found at most local libraries or at the web-site
By clicking on the “Who’s Certified” tab, you will find a list of Board Certified Medical Specialists.  The National Cancer Institute also has a fact sheet on how to find a doctor or treatment facility if you have cancer. 

At this stressful time in your life, if you have any doubts or questions about your proposed treatment or your diagnosis, it is best to get a second opinion.  Most insurance companies will pay for second opinions if one is requested. 

Information about your disease is also important in your decision making about treatment choices.  Arm yourself with information about the disease and the treatment choices that you will have.  Education is the key to understanding and coping with breast cancer.




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