Many people consider seeking the knowledge and advice of more than one doctor. This is called a second opinion.
Asking for a second opinion is common practice. The more knowledge you have about a particular diagnosis and the treatment options available, the more comfortable you will be regarding the health care decisions you will make.
A second opinion after diagnosis
A second opinion after receiving a diagnosis can provide a great deal of information, such as:
- Confirmation of a diagnosis
- Additional details on the type and stage of the condition
- Other treatment options
A second opinion before treatment
Seeking a second opinion before beginning treatment can also provide a great deal of information, such as:
- More information on the medical / surgical condition
- Opinions from experts and specialists (such as radiologists, physicians or surgeons) who may have treated other patients with a similar condition to your diagnosis
Finding a doctor for a second opinion
Let your doctor know if you wish to seek a second opinion. Most doctors fully understand the value of a second opinion and are not offended when patients seek one. They may even be able to suggest another doctor.
Once you locate a possible doctor for a second opinion, ask about the doctor’s area of specialty and credentials, such as training, and experience. Make sure to bring all of your relevant medical records, test results (including blood work and imaging tests, such as x-rays) and any related materials to the appointment, to eliminate repeat testing.
During the consultation, you may wish to write down the information you learn so that you can refer back to it later, or take another person to help you remember the discussion with the doctor.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask the doctor to explain something in more detail. It is important that you feel confident that you’ve made the best decision possible with the best information possible before deciding on treatment.