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The Importance of a Second Opinion

9 years 3 weeks ago #33648 by Cynthia
One of the first pieces of advice you will probably be given in this forum will be to seek a second opinion from a specialist in bladder cancer. There are few that would argue with the importance of obtaining a second opinion from a specialist whose practice focuses on your type of cancer. Studies show better outcomes when treatment is sought at a center of excellence for your type of cancer.

Most people that are diagnosed with bladder cancer are in the care of an Urologist who is a specialist in treating all diseases and conditions of the urinary system. It is highly recommended that you seek a second opinion from a subspecialist in Urology who specializes in only cancer of the urinary system.

A second opinion does not mean you will have to leave your Urologist or do not trust them. Many doctors encourage a second opinion and will help you with sending records and finding a specialist and are happy to work with another doctor. A second opinion will allow you to confirm your diagnosis its details and your options.

If surgery is recommended the question you must ask is how many of my surgeries do you do a year? The answer can vary from five a year to five a week and studies again show that the more experience the better the outcome statistically. Also if your doctor does a high volume of your surgery the hospital they are using will also have a lot of experience in after care for that surgery.

Pathology is a very large part of your diagnosis and is another reason you will wish to get a second opinion someplace that handles a lot of bladder cancer. A Pathologist is a doctor who makes the diagnosis of cancer by looking at and testing the cells that are given them through the biopsy. Studies have found that your pathologists experience with your type of cancer cell can affect accuracy and due to the fact that treatment is based on your pathology report you can see why it is so important.

How do you get a second opinion?

Many people start by asking their present doctor if they can make a recommendation and help them make the arrangements. If you receive a negative response to your request you have to remember that this is not about your doctors feeling it is about your life.

Another way to find a specialist in bladder cancer is to post to our forum and ask if anyone knows someone in your area. You do not have to give your exact location just state and if it is south or north. You then call that doctors office and they will tell you what they need for you to have sent to them or bring to them and how to go about it.
On our main page is a section Bladder Cancer Centers by State. Click on the first letter of your state and you will find a list of NCI centers in your state and you simply click on your choice and it will take you to their contact page.

Or you may go to UrologyHealth.org a site ran by the American Urological Association Foundation there you any enter your zip code and it will give you a list of Urologists in your area. Under their names it will tell you what their areas of specialization are. When you call them make sure you ask if their main practice is in bladder cancer often times it will lean more towards prostate cancer.

http://www.urologyhealth.org/find_urologist/html/index.asp

You will need to call your insurance and find out what their policy is for second opinions some even require them.

Further reading

From the National Cancer Institute about second opinions

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/doctor-facility

Cynthia Kinsella
T2 g3 CIS 8/04
Clinical Trial
Chemotherapy & Radiation 10/04-12/04
Chemotherapy 3/05-5/05
BCG 9/05-1-06
RC w/umbilical Indiana pouch 5/06
Left Nephrectomy 1/09
President American Bladder Cancer Society
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