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When should you seek a second medical opinion?

When should you seek a second medical opinion?
OPINION. Learn more.

The cancer diagnosis hit the 45-year-old woman hard. After the initial shock, she wanted to jump into treatment. Yet part of her needed time to absorb the diagnosis, research her options and gain peace of mind knowing she'd make the best decisions possible.

When she talked again with her oncologist, she held her breath – and with considerable concern about offending him – said part of the research she would like to do is to get a second medical opinion. Was she right to be apprehensive about talking to her doctor?

"Most physicians realize that patients have the right to seek a second opinion," says Alex Hantel, MD, Director of Medical Oncology for Edward Cancer Centers. "In many cases we encourage patients to get another physician's perspective. And many patients from across the region seek second opinions from Edward Cancer Centers and other highly-specialized services at Edward."

Edward created a Second Opinion Clinic to help patients get thorough, expedited second opinions for serious illnesses like cancer. A nurse navigator guides the patient, coordinates timely visits with specialists, and works with the first physician's office to obtain the necessary medical information, such as imaging or test results.

Dr. Hantel says that seeking a second opinion is especially appropriate in life-threatening, unusual or complicated cases where there are multiple potential courses of treatment.

Second opinions can offer:

  • Better understanding of your diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis.
  • A fresh analysis from a doctor whose approach may be more aggressive or more conservative than your physician, and who may know of alternative treatments.
  • Reassurance that the original treatment plan is your best option.

If you plan to seek a second opinion, check your insurance coverage – insurers often cover second opinions.

"Don't be afraid to talk with your physician about seeking a second opinion," says Dr. Hantel. "It's your life and your health."

Need a second medical opinion? Visit Edward's Second Opinion Clinic for more info.


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Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

Naperville • Plainfield • Bolingbrook • Oswego • Woodridge
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