From the moment of diagnosis, patients and their loved ones have to make a lot of decisions—not the least of which is the type of treatments to pursue. Many people, unfortunately, feel an immense amount of pressure to choose a treatment path quickly. However, this is the exact point in which patients should take the time to fully understand their situation and explore all of their options, including pursuing alternative treatments.
At Hope4Cancer, we’re staunch advocates for second opinions, and we’re happy to report that they’re becoming increasingly popular. People used to be nervous to ask for a second opinion, afraid of hurting their doctor’s feelings. But as a society we’re fortunately moving away from that mentality, and seeking second opinions is rightfully becoming almost standard practice.
I want to encourage all of you reading this to take control of your medical care and your life. Getting a second opinion is your right as a patient, and doing so might open your eyes to a whole new world of options, including safer, nontoxic treatments like those offered at Hope4Cancer.
How it Might Help
In my opinion, the biggest benefit of obtaining a second opinion is stifling the nagging question of, “What if?” Regardless of how much trust you have in the first doctor you see, without a second opinion you’ll likely be left wondering if something was missed or if some other treatment might work better. So, if nothing else, get a second opinion to rid yourself of doubt and put your mind at ease.
Beyond that, second opinions are useful for a whole host of reasons, including the following:
- Confirming the diagnosis
- Confirming the initial treatment plan
- Suggesting clinical trial options
- Understanding perspectives from experts in varying oncology disciplines
- Learning about other treatment options
This last reason is of particular significance to all of us at Hope4Cancer, as our alternative treatments don’t get as much publicity as the conventional therapies. Many people are surprised to learn that our nontoxic, holistic methods can be just as effective and leave them with significantly fewer side effects—something they might never have discovered had they not sought a second opinion at one of our clinics.
Finding the Right Doctor or Clinic
A great resource for finding a physician to give you a second opinion is your current doctor. Most of us in the medical profession understand the value of other perspectives and will be happy to provide recommendations.
You can also visit other hospitals, medical clinics or cancer centers in your area. Further, you can search oncology databases for ideas, as well as ask family and friends for recommendations.
The most important thing, in my mind, is to seek out a doctor or clinic that’s very different from your current one. In other words, if your first doctor is very conventional, try visiting someone more alternative. Even if you’re a bit skeptical of alternative treatments, it can’t hurt to learn more about them. Many of our most successful Hope4Cancer patients weren’t initially believers, but now they couldn’t imagine taking any other route.
Preparing for the Appointment
Before your second-opinion appointment, request all of your relevant medical records and image scans from your current doctor. This will eliminate the need for repeat testing and ensure the new doctor is fully informed about your condition.
It’s also smart to write down any questions you might have as it can be easy to forget what you want to ask during the actual appointment. Be sure to request clarification if the doctor says anything you don’t understand, and write down everything so you can easily refer to and remember it later. Taking a loved one with you is another great option, as the old adage that, “Two minds are better than one,” is certainly true.
After your appointment, compare the ideas and options from both appointments, and ultimately, trust your gut. If you’re still not satisfied, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek a third or even fourth opinion.
Remember, this is your life. You’re in control, and you must do what’s right for you.