5 Reasons when you need a second opinion 

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5 Reasons when you need a second opinion 

Every single day, people across our nation will receive a diagnosis of a serious health condition.  Hearing “you have…” can be very scary and unsettling feeling like your world has stopped.  For some, such news may be expected. For others, it will be completely out of the blue.  Either way, hearing about a medical condition threatening your overall health and well-being, usually requires a second opinion from another doctor.  Maybe you want it treated right away but very likely, you’ve had the condition for months if not years.  Waiting a couple more weeks to go through the proper channels finding the right treatment for you is incredibly important.  Keep in mind, fast medicine can also turn into bad medicine. 

Doctors are human and like all of us, can and do make mistakes.  Doctors also have different ways and ideas of how they approach certain diseases in treating them.  Some doctors are more conservative while others more aggressive.  Therefore, their opinions and recommendations can vary dramatically.  This is why it is important to get another set of eyes to review your lab work, scans, x-rays, and get their understanding of your health condition and what their recommendation is on how to proceed.

Seeking out a second opinion is a good idea for several reasons:

·      To make sure your diagnosis is correct

·      To find out more information on your condition

·      To allow you to talk to a doctor with expertise in whatever your medical condition is

·      To explore other treatment options

When should you get a second opinion?

Getting a second opinion is not required for all health concerns but there are times when getting that second opinion can be the best thing you did.  What if you get a second opinion and the second doctor’s findings differ vastly from the first?  Then it might be wise to get a third opinion.  Second opinions are not always the right one to go with.  Keep digging until the treatment and diagnosis makes sense to you.

Here is a listing of reasons when a second opinion can be a valuable tool in your healthcare decisions:

1.  If you have had treatment for your condition but your symptoms have not gone away

We are the experts of our bodies.  We know how we feel and when symptoms that were supposed to be alleviated with treatment are still present, it may be time to seek out another person’s opinion. You do not have to live with chronic pain or uncomfortable feelings that have not been helped.  Be your own advocate and keep searching for doctors who will listen and be open to trying new methods of treatment.

2.  If you are diagnosed with a rare disease or condition

One of the most frustrating and frightening things is to be diagnosed with a rare disease that has little scientific research behind it.  Approximately 1 in 10 Americans is diagnosed with a rare disease.  With almost 7,000 known rare diseases or disorders and more that get discovered each year, it is not uncommon for there to be little information in regards on how best to treat them. This makes it imperative to get a second opinion.  There could be a chance you were misdiagnosed.  If the diagnosis is found to be correct, then search out doctors and specialists well-versed with your disorder and get their opinion on how to treat it.

3.  If you are being recommended to have surgery or the treatment is risky with possible lifelong consequences

Always explore your options before candidly agreeing to a surgery or other invasive procedures.  Remember, you do have a say in what treatments you agree to or not as it is your body. It is always a wise decision to seek out that second opinion in order to gather as much information you can.  Being proactive and not passive will give you a greater degree of control in how you are treated in the end.

4.  If you are diagnosed with cancer

Cancer is a serious diagnosis and should always require a second opinion.  At the time of diagnosis, you are likely confused and feeling overwhelmed by this life-changing event.  This is why it is important to be as informed as possible about your prognosis and treatment options available.  Again, be your own advocate.  Tell the doctor who diagnosed you, you want a second opinion.  There are many oncologists who specialize in specific types of cancer making them experts in those diseases.They can be of invaluable help and advice on steering you in the right direction on how the course of your treatment plan should be executed. 

In addition, some insurance providers actually require a second opinion when it comes to a cancer diagnosis.

5.  If you feel uncomfortable with a diagnosis

Listen to your instincts.  If your gut is telling you something doesn’t seem right with a diagnosis, get a second opinion.  Never agree to a treatment or procedure when something seems off. Again, trust your instincts and get more information.  Discuss your concerns with a new doctor, read up on or talk to others who’ve had your condition.  Ask many questions on everything from prescription medications to what possible new treatments are being developed. 

Remember, most of us do not have to make major healthcare decisions immediately.  Take some time to gather your information researching your conditions and searching out that second opinion to feel confident in your diagnosis and treatment plan.