Mesothelioma Second Opinions

Quick Summary

Mesothelioma is a rare and complex disease that often gets misdiagnosed as another type of cancer. To ensure that you’re getting the best treatment plan possible, it’s important to seek the second opinion of a mesothelioma specialist.

Mesothelioma Second Opinion Overview

Unfortunately, many patients don’t feel empowered to take charge of their health and seek second opinions about their condition. But patients must consult mesothelioma specialists to ensure they’ve been correctly diagnosed. Here’s what every mesothelioma patient should know about seeking a second medical opinion:

  • Mesothelioma can only be diagnosed and treated by specialized doctors
  • Seeking a second opinion can change your original diagnosis
  • A second opinion may result in a better or poorer prognosis or a different diagnosis entirely
  • You can ask your doctor for specialist recommendations to get a second opinion
  • Patients are always within their right to consult other specialists if they aren’t sure about their current diagnosis
  • The second opinion from another specialist can give you more treatment options than you previously knew you had

What is a Second Opinion?

A second opinion is the consultation from a different doctor who can either confirm or change your diagnosis. Many mesothelioma patients suffer through painful symptoms for months before obtaining a diagnosis. Some patients aren’t diagnosed until the end stages of cancer when treatment options become limited.

As soon as you or your doctor suspect you may have mesothelioma, it’s vital to seek the opinion of a mesothelioma specialist (or two) at a cancer center with a dedicated mesothelioma research and treatment program.

Mesothelioma specialists are experienced doctors who have devoted their lives to researching mesothelioma, and are often the direct developers of ground-breaking treatments. Specialists also look at each mesothelioma case as a unique disease, so they can treat each patient with a personalized treatment plan.

Reasons to Get a Second Opinion

Asking for a second opinion is uncomfortable for some patients, especially those who have limited experience with the medical field. But when you consider the important reasons for getting a second opinion, the choice becomes clear.

If you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis from a general physician or oncologist, then here are the most important reasons to see a specialist for a second opinion:

  • Specialized Experience: Most doctors only see one to two cases of mesothelioma in their careers—if ever. Mesothelioma requires a specialist’s knowledge to effectively treat it. Additionally, there are different mesothelioma specialists for different forms of the disease. Seeing a specialist with extensive experience treating your mesothelioma location, cell type and stage is vital to receiving the life-extending treatments you need.
  • New Treatment Options: Because general practitioners aren’t familiar with mesothelioma, they don’t know the most effective treatment approaches to apply to individual cases. Your doctor may recommend one treatment plan, while a specialist may present you with new options that can result in significant life-extension.
  • Get Treatment Sooner: Sadly, a lot of time is wasted when a misdiagnosis occurs. In some cases, a patient is started on the wrong treatment plan only to realize there has been a misdiagnosis. Getting a second opinion can save time and ensure you get put on the right treatment plan to begin with.
  • Peace of Mind: A mesothelioma diagnosis is as devastating emotionally as it is physically. Getting a second opinion can alleviate stress and uncertainty from you and your family. You cannot put a price on peace of mind.
  • Concerned Loved Ones: For family members and caregivers, it can be painful to watch your loved one go through a difficult and drawn-out diagnostic process. By understanding the value of seeking a specialist’s perspective, you can encourage your loved one to get a second opinion.

When to Get a Second Opinion

While patients may see the value in seeking a second opinion, they may still be uncertain about when it’s right to ask for one. Here are some scenarios where you’d be apt to get a second opinion:

Second Opinion Update

An Inexperienced Doctor: It truly is up to all patients to take charge of their health and ask important questions of their doctor. Ask your doctor to describe the level of experience they have in treating mesothelioma. Mesothelioma specialists have seen hundreds of cases compared to the average doctor who has seen only a small handful at best. If you have an inexperienced doctor, it’s time to get a second opinion.

Learn more about mesothelioma specialists.

After Treatment Recommendations: If your doctor has laid out a mesothelioma treatment plan for you but you want other options, then you can absolutely get a second opinion. A different doctor or specialist may provide you with an entirely different plan that incorporates new therapies and approaches.

Learn more about treatments for mesothelioma and be sure to ask your doctor about all possible options.

Before Surgery: Surgery is a major undertaking with the potential for unnecessary risks and complications. If your doctor has recommended a surgical procedure, then this is a good time to consult a mesothelioma specialist. Mesothelioma surgeries are complex and highly technical and mesothelioma tumors aren’t always resectable (removable). Mesothelioma specialists have staging systems they use to determine whether surgery is the right path.

Learn more about surgery options for mesothelioma.

Not Understanding Your Diagnosis: If you’re confused about your diagnosis or your doctor cannot answer all your questions, then it’s critical to get a second opinion now—before you undergo any treatments you’re unsure of. Mesothelioma specialists can answer all your questions and provide you with detailed explanations about your diagnosis.

Learn more about diagnosing mesothelioma.

Asking for a Second Opinion

It’s understandable that many patients feel awkward about seeking a second opinion—especially those who have had their family doctor for many years. Many patients are uncomfortable going to another doctor and don’t want it to seem like they are questioning their doctor’s abilities.

But asking for a second opinion doesn’t have to be a complicated situation. The fact is, this is your life and your health and you deserve to know what your options are. You can simply tell your doctor you’d like to ask another doctor for their opinion and chances, are your doctor can put you in touch with another doctor. Medical consults are a standard practice in the medical community. Ideally, you’ll receive a doctor’s referral to a mesothelioma specialist at a specialized cancer center.

Mesothelioma specialists are located at cancer centers across the country. These specialists are often the heads of the mesothelioma treatment and research programs at their hospitals. By contacting the cancer centers, you can learn more about how to get a consultation with a mesothelioma specialist for a second opinion.

Learn more about top mesothelioma cancer centers.

If you’re unsure of where to start when looking for a second opinion, then contact Mesothelioma Help Now today. Our Patient Advocates and Medical Experts are available to review your case and answer any questions you may have. We can look at the details of your diagnosis and match you with specialists experienced in treating your exact disease type and stage. We can even find you mesothelioma specialists located closest to you, so you don’t have to travel as far.

You’re not alone in your fight against mesothelioma and there is hope for life-extending treatments from experienced specialists.