Getting a Second Opinion
Before starting any type of treatment, a patient may consider getting a second opinion–especially if some characteristics of the diagnosis are complicated or uncertain.
The purpose of the second opinion is not to question the doctor’s expertise but to make sure that the suggested treatment plan is reasonable and optimal for the patient’s particular case. Most doctors will be supportive and helpful if the patient requests a second opinion from a lymphoma specialist or other doctor. A second opinion can be sought during a patient’s initial diagnosis, after a relapse, or at any time when a treatment decision is being made.
Patients should ask their doctor if it would be okay to briefly delay the start of treatment to give extra time to get a second opinion. Keep in mind that some insurance programs require second opinions; others may cover it if a patient or doctor requests it.
- Some hematologists/oncologists/lymphoma specialists associated with medical schools or cancer centers may provide a consultation and be willing to work together with a local oncologist to provide treatment and follow-up care.
- As part of the second opinion, another pathologist must review the tissue and blood samples to confirm the diagnosis. Patients should ask their doctor about finding a pathologist with experience diagnosing patients with lymphoma.
- To get a second opinion, patients will have to provide the consulting doctor a complete copy of all medical records, original x-rays, pathology materials, scans and reports. When setting up an appointment, patients should ask their office for a list of all the materials needed. It may be useful to keep copies of these records in case of questions or concerns later on.
- If you would like additional information on when or how to request a second opinion, consider contacting the LRF Helpline.