Study Shows Value of Second Opinions for Breast Cancer Diagnosis

A study done in South Carolina strongly suggests that getting a second opinion can be very valuable for people diagnosed with breast cancer: more than 40% of the people in the study who asked for a second opinion had a change in diagnosis.

The research was published in the October 2018 issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology. Read the abstract of “The Value of a Second Opinion for Breast Cancer Patients Referred to a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Center with a Multidisciplinary Breast Tumor Board.”

Many people diagnosed with breast cancer feel a sense of urgency about jumping right in and starting treatment immediately. In most cases, though, there’s time to do some research to make sure your diagnosis is correct and your treatment plan makes sense — and this may include getting a second opinion.

Getting a second opinion means asking another breast cancer specialist, or a team of specialists, to review all of your medical reports and test results, give an opinion about your diagnosis, and suggest treatment options. A second opinion may confirm your original doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, provide more details about the type and stage of breast cancer, change your original doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, raise additional treatment options you hadn’t considered, or recommend a different course of action.

This study, done by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), included 70 people who were diagnosed with stage 0 to stage III breast cancer at a different institution and came to the MUSC multidisciplinary tumor board for a second opinion between August 2015 and March 2016.

Multidisciplinary tumor boards, as the name suggests, are boards made up of medical professionals from a variety of specialties within a specific cancer field (such as breast cancer), including radiati…

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