Getting a second opinion is not only accepted but frequently encouraged by doctors. For a BTF referral, call 212.265.2401.
Where to Begin
Very often patients feel the need to immediately act when they are first diagnosed. In fact, it is very important to take the time to think about what needs to be done — do some research and make some inquiries as to whether your diagnosis is correct and if the treatment plan is appropriate for you. In short – get a second opinion.
In most cases, very few decisions need to be made right away. A second opinion may confirm your original doctor’s diagnosis and treatment suggestion or it may offer other options and recommendations. It is advised that you contact your insurance, as some companies require a second opinion before treatment begins.
If you are planning on getting a second opinion, it is important that you seek a physician who is not connected or practicing in the same hospital as your original doctor. Someone should accompany you for the meeting and you should plan to bring a notebook and/or a recording device – such as a tape recorder or a Smart Phone. This will help you absorb all the information imparted to you, which can often be overwhelming.
A second opinion may offer you other treatment options and additional information on your diagnosis that has not originally been considered. It in no way shows a lack of confidence in your doctor. In fact, a second opinion is your prerogative!
You ultimately make the decisions, along with your medical team, for your treatment plan. And to do that you need to be fully informed.
Below are a few simple steps to follow and help you move forward with your plans…
STEP ONE: CONSULT
The Brain Tumor Foundation – at 212.265.2401 – works with many neurologists and brain surgeons and is proficient in recommending the appropriate expert based on his/her expertise and locale. The conversations are in full confidence and handled with sensitivity and caring.
STEP TWO: COLLECT
You need to assemble all data that is relevant to your case: past scans, films, reports, and any other information you can retrieve from your records or previously consulted physicians. You are also advised to get information on any past treatments, including surgeries, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
STEP THREE: ORGANIZE
Organize your thoughts and crystallize the questions you want to present to the doctor. You are encouraged to jot down questions in advance of your second opinion meeting. You are entitled to ask questions. It is your life and you should feel comfortable discussing your health fully.
STEP FOUR: EXPLORE
Exchange openly with the doctor, airing your concerns. This way, together you can strategize a therapy plan that will be in sync with your priorities. Your options should be explored and you should allow yourself time to reflect.