Second Medical Opinions for Cancer Diagnoses: An Often Overlooked Imperative
It is inarguable that a cancer diagnosis can suddenly and very deeply shatter a person’s world. Whether receiving a positive or negative biopsy result, finding out that one was misdiagnosed can be equally overwhelming. Recent evidence and medical practice trends in oncology point to the unprecedented importance of obtaining second opinions for cancer diagnoses. A number of studies have found that not only is it crucial to obtain a second medical opinion from cancer specialists, but also from experts in related fields before beginning any type of cancer treatment.
This trend is also revealed by the fact that more and more hospitals and medical centers have inaugurated second opinion boards which hold meetings whereby teams of specialists from several fields review patient treatment options, discuss possible interpretive differences regarding test results or diagnoses, or divergent medical opinions.
At first glance, the need for a medical second opinion may not be so obvious if a person trusts and respects their primary care or cancer specialist. However, the question is not one of doubting professional capacity to diagnose or select a treatment, but rather one of understanding that different specialists are trained examine different diagnostic elements through different lenses. A drastic but equally likely example of this reality would be the instance of one surgeon electing a specifically aggressive and invasive treatment path, whereas another could perceive the cancer to be entirely inoperable.
Why such major divergences? Diagnosing cancer is not as explicit or definitive as is often perceived. Following a biopsy procedure, the difference between malignant cells and non-malignant cells is not necessarily dramatically different. This leaves a rather heightened possibility of discordant diagnoses delivered by physicians. With rates of misdiagnosis being astonishingly high, and new cases being reported every day, a second opinion could be vital in saving a patients’ time, money, or even life. Therefrom follows the central importance of always obtaining independent treatment advice when cancer is concluded. In any case, it is imperative that all possible options are explored, and especially that the patient feels comfortable or as enlightened as possible about any health care decisions.
Practically speaking, requesting online medical advice with Activ Doctors means that a team of experts reviews pathology reports, laboratory tests, medical records, MRI’s and any notes taken by the physician who produced an initial diagnosis. Online consultations offered by Activ Doctors make obtaining second opinions immensely simple. For example, a person living in a rural area, at a major distance from any major hospital or treatment centre, or anyone with reduced mobility, is now able to submit all medical records online and have an international team of specialists specifically tailored to their medical situation review them. This is a particularly pertinent option when prompt intervention has been prescribed by a physician. With Activ Doctors Online, patients can obtain a Second Opinion report within 48 hours of submitting their medical records. Never before have patients been so empowered to take control of their health care choices and obtain independent second opinions online from a world-class team of cancer specialists. Modern health care has made online second opinions available to all patients who have been, or are concerned about a cancer diagnosis. If getting one can save a life, perhaps it’s time to turn on your computer.