Second Opinion

Advancements in the oncology space are happening at an unprecedented rate, and it is not any different in the case of a cancer diagnosis. Cancer is a complex disease and depending solely on the primary diagnosis may not be a great idea. Going for a second opinion on the available diagnosis before continuing with the treatment could make a stark difference.

A second opinion is a medical practice wherein a specialist’s diagnosis of a certain case and its treatment plan are reviewed by another specialist or a group of specialists. This is a common practice in cancer management.

During cancer diagnosis, there are times when the tumour has advanced a lot more than what is suggested in the reports, or sometimes it might be a benign tumour, contradicting the severity suggested, or at times, the diagnosis itself could be completely off-base. In these cases, a second opinion could be a lifesaver.

A second opinion can help cancer patients get a better understanding of this disease, learn how it progresses, and make informed health decisions that are positively going to impact their recovery. It is important to note that it is always best to get a second opinion on cancer diagnosis from the best cancer hospitals due to their long track record and in-depth knowledge.

When to Opt for a Second Opinion?

Some patients find it difficult to let their primary care physicians know they want to get a second opinion. However, patients should know that it is normal for them to get a second opinion. In fact, many doctors encourage their patients to go for a second opinion after a cancer diagnosis - this helps them trust the diagnosis and treatment. A second opinion comes in handy in the following scenarios:

  • If the patient fears a misdiagnosis
  • The diagnosis is unclear.
  • The treatment offered is causing side effects, or the patient fears unknown risks.
  • The cancer fails to respond to the current treatment.
  • The treatment planned is experimental with no proper protocol or known results.
  • The patient is uncomfortable with the doctor, the diagnosis, and the treatment plan.

Why Do You Need a Second Opinion for Cancer?

Well-informed decisions play a critical role in the success of cancer treatment, and a second opinion could lead to those carefully made decisions. A second opinion on cancer diagnosis could help cancer patients in several ways. The following are a few advantages of getting a second opinion:

Sense of Empowerment and Control over the Health Condition: Learning more about their condition, having an active role in deciding the best treatment plan, and lastly, choosing the specialist of their choice for their treatment evokes a sense of control over their health condition among cancer patients. This could positively impact their decisions and overall disease management.

Higher Chances of a Correct Diagnosis: A second opinion might support the present diagnosis or provide new details that might improve the effectiveness of the current course of treatment. Diagnostic errors in cancer subtypes and rare cancers are common. Patients diagnosed with rare cancers can opt for a second opinion for confirmation on the type and exact stage of cancer.

To Explore Various Advanced Diagnostic and Treatment Options: The horizon for cancer treatment options is getting wider with each passing day. A second opinion on cancer diagnosis may help patients opt for emotionally and physically less taxing treatment procedures that may not only treat their cancer successfully but also help them get back to their normal lives at a relatively faster rate.

Increased Confidence in the Treatment: Being diagnosed with cancer can be confusing and frustrating. However, a second opinion brings a sense of clarity among the patients and their caregivers, which is crucial for informed decision-making.

Value for Money: : In healthcare, the value for money is defined by the efficacy of the treatment, which majorly depends on the precision of the diagnosis. A second opinion should never be seen as an additional expense; it could prevent surgery or provide an alternative treatment plan that not only addresses the condition but also saves money.

A second opinion could also help the patients avoid non-evidence-based treatment procedures that rarely come with tangible results.

Why Get a Second Opinion for Cancer at HCG?

Multidisciplinary Approach: Every case at HCG is handled by our multidisciplinary team that comprises specialists from various disciplines, which means it is not just one specialist, but a group of specialists who will be studying each cancer case and helping the patient with the best possible solution.

Centralised Tumour Board: HCG has a unique tumour board, wherein each cancer case is diligently discussed, the available diagnostic information is comprehensively studied, and accordingly, effective treatment planning is made. A detailed assessment of each case helps the specialists at HCG come up with a reliable second opinion.

High-End Diagnostic Facility: Cutting-edge diagnostic technologies, such as PET/CT (analogue/digital), Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS), digital mammography, high-resolution MRI scanner, etc., are employed at our comprehensive cancer centres to provide superior quality diagnostic support.

Evidence-Based Treatment Approach: The multidisciplinary team at HCG opts for an evidence-based treatment approach, which allows the team to use available evidence to plan treatment interventions that are most likely to result in a successful clinical outcome. The team ensures that a customised treatment plan is devised based on the site and stage of the tumour, the co-morbidities, and the patient's preferences.

Ensured Continuity of Care and Compliance with Treatment: HCG connects the patients back with their respective primary care providers to ensure continuity of care and compliance with treatment.

How Does It Work?

  • The patient seeking a second opinion must complete a registration form on our website, upload any available medical records, and initiate payment.
  • Typically, within 2-3 business days after a patient has shared their medical records, one of our care officers will get in touch with the patient or their family members.
  • The care officer will select the right cancer specialist to handle the second opinion case after carefully reviewing the medical records.
  • The specialist will virtually consult the patient, thoroughly study the available patient information in tandem with a multidisciplinary team, and write additional tests, if necessary.
  • Once the results of additional tests arrive, the specialists and their team will again have a discussion. Another tele/video consultation or physical consultation will happen with the patient, during which the obtained results will be discussed along with an effective treatment plan. The reports will be shared via email too.
  • Our cancer specialists will then discuss their observations with the patient and their caregivers. The insights on the diagnosis and treatment plan will also be shared with the patient’s treating doctor, and follow-ups will be made to ensure continual care.
  • In line with the second opinion, HCG Cancer Hospital also offers services, like dietary counselling, genetic counselling, yoga therapy, psycho-oncology counselling, and counselling on preventive oncology practices, to promptly support the cancer treatment that may follow.

Frequently Asked Questions

The care officer at HCG Cancer Centre will identify the appropriate cancer specialist at our centre to handle your online second opinion case after carefully analysing your second opinion request and your medical information.

You may also request a particular physician, and your care officer will try to accommodate that request and schedule the appointment accordingly.

You could opt for a second opinion before the surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or at any point of the treatment cycle. However, it is ideal to seek a second opinion before the treatment begins. Your doctor, who primarily diagnosed your condition, could also recommend a specialist for a second opinion on your diagnosis.

We suggest you give yourself as much time as possible to gather all the necessary information about your condition and finally make an informed decision.

Be direct and honest with your treating doctor. Inform that you would like to have a second physician review your diagnosis and the planned course of therapy. During your second opinion consultation at HCG Cancer Hospital, please make sure to bring the existing reports, new test recommendations, and treatment plan advised during your original consultation.

In response to the enquiries made during the second opinion request, our cancer treatment centre will send over a comprehensive second opinion report. Our findings may confirm your initial diagnosis or suggest a different course of action. Additionally, you should initially set aside time to visit your treating doctor to go over the suggestions, course of therapy, and overall plan of care. After studying your second opinion report, you are free to seek treatment for your condition at HCG.

The HCG team will collect all your medical records directly from you during your registration. The medical records from your primary diagnosis are important for the specialists to study your current condition before suggesting more tests, if necessary.

To get in touch with our cancer specialists for a second opinion, please fill the form below, and we will soon get in touch with you.