Making decisions about your medical care and treatment is very important, and possibly one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make in your life. When your doctor says you have a health problem such as cancer or you have another illness that needs surgery or a particular type of treatment, you have the right to know your treatment options and to understand them. When many people are told they have a life threatening illness, they feel they must make a decision and begin treatment as soon as possible. Although this may be true in some circumstances, generally you want to do research to learn about your disease and get a second and possibly even a third opinion. Getting a second opinion is a very reasonable approach which will allow you to effectively weigh your options. A second opinion will allow you to be thoroughly informed about your diagnosis, prognosis and available treatment options. Once you are fully informed and understand your options, then you will have the information you need to make a decision about your treatment. Being informed is always your best option.
Some patients may feel intimidated about seeking a second opinion because they do not want to offend their doctor. This is not the time to feel intimidated. Your health is important. You want to be proactive in obtaining all of the information you need in order to make the right decision about your course of treatment. Most doctors will understand your right to be well-informed and will welcome another physician’s input through a second opinion. Some physicians may even advise you to get a second opinion.
When meeting with the physician for a second opinion, make sure to bring a copy of your medical records and test results. You may find the second doctor may provide you with a different diagnosis or plan regarding your course of treatment. One doctor may have a more aggressive treatment plan in mind than the other. By getting a second opinion, you can expand your options about different treatment methods which may be most suitable for you and your situation. It’s wise to get a second opinion.