It can be hard to make a choice about what kinds of treatment to have for cancer. You may want to have a second opinion. This means having another doctor review your diagnosis and treatment options.
It's vital that you feel good about your treatment choices. A second opinion can help you make your decisions.
When doctors plan cancer treatments, they consider:
The type and stage of your cancer
How likely the cancer can be cured with each treatment
How the treatment will affect your daily life
Your overall health
Your personal preferences
A second doctor can review all of these factors. He or she can help you make sure of your decisions.
Many health insurers will pay for a second opinion. Some even require a second opinion. And in most cases, a short delay in treatment will not reduce the chance that it will work.
You have a number of ways to find a doctor who can give a second opinion. These include:
Your primary care doctor. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist. This may be a surgeon. Or it may be a medical or radiation oncologist. These doctors often work together at cancer centers and hospitals.
Your cancer specialist. He or she may be able to refer you to another specialist.
NCI Contact Center. This is a service of the National Cancer Institute. They can tell you how to find cancer treatment centers. You can contact them at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237), or at their website.
Commission on Cancer. This is a program from the American College of Surgeons. They approve medical centers and hospitals that provide the best cancer care. You can search for an approved medical center.
American Medical Association (AMA). This group has an online Doctor Finder service. The AMA also has a directory of the medical groups in each state. This can help you to find doctors in your state.
Other options for a second opinion include:
A local medical society
A nearby hospital or medical school
A local cancer advocacy group
Other people who have had cancer
Talk with your healthcare provider to find local resources like these.