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Should I get a second opinion for a cancer diagnosis?

Don’t worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings if you want a second opinion on a cancer diagnosis. You are well within your rights to request one, and most doctors welcome a second opinion, especially when surgery or the possibility of long-term treatment is involved. Insurances often cover the cost of a second opinion, but you might want to check with your own insurance company to be sure. In any case, the important thing is not to delay further diagnosis or treatment. If you are seeking a second opinion please discuss it with your doctor as quickly as possible.


Even though some cancers spread quickly, it's smart to get a second opinion. Although only 10% of people get second opinions, 30% of second opinions change the diagnosis or treatment. Great docs encourage you to get second opinions, especially since biopsies of common cancers are read incorrectly more than 10% of the time, according to two different studies. The best second opinion comes from a doctor at an institution other than where the first doctor practices and who is well regarded for the treatment of a particular type of cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.