Getting a second opinion

A second opinion can help you better understand your treatment options. Getting one can be as simple as a referral from your current specialist.

Getting a second opinion

Discussing your treatment plan may feel overwhelming because there is a lot of information to process. The decision to proceed can take time. One way to make sure you’re learning about, and understanding, all of your options is to seek a second opinion from another doctor. Many people do this. Your current specialist or GP can refer you and send your records to a second doctor. You can get a second (or third, or more) opinion for any reason. Some may be:

  • You want to know every possible choice for treatment.
  • You think another treatment might be available.
  • You’re having trouble talking with your doctor, or you want your options explained by someone else.

Some people may hesitate to tell their doctor they want a second opinion. Here are some ways to start the conversation:

  • “I’m thinking of getting a second opinion. Can you recommend someone?”
  • “Before we start treatment, I’d like to get a second opinion. Will you help me with that?”
  • “If you had my type of cancer, is there another doctor you would see for a second opinion?”
  • “I think I’d like to talk with another doctor to be sure I have all my bases covered.”

After the second opinion

If the second doctor agrees with the first, you can feel more confident this is the best treatment plan for you. If the second opinion is different from the first, you can:

  • Discuss the second opinion with your first doctor.
  • Ask both doctors to explain how they interpreted your test results and arrived at their treatment plan.
  • Ask what they have recommended to other patients in your same situation.
  • Ask if it is possible for the two doctors to review your case together.
  • Ask them to provide the clinical data and research information about the treatment plans they are suggesting.