The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Getting a Second Opinion

What is a second opinion?

Once you find a doctor, they don’t have to be your only source of breast cancer information. Breast cancer is complex. It’s a good idea for everyone diagnosed with breast cancer to consider meeting with another doctor to get a second opinion.

Before getting a second opinion, it’s best to check with your insurance company to see if there are any limits though. Some health plans may only cover second opinions from doctors in their own network.

Seeing a doctor from a different hospital or group practice can:

  • Give you confidence in the first doctor by confirming a diagnosis or course of treatment
  • Give you a different insight into your diagnosis and treatment
  • Increase your options for care
  • Give you a chance to meet with another doctor, who may be better suited to treat your breast cancer

If you’re not happy with your care or you’re not connecting with your doctor, get a second opinion.

It’s OK to get a second opinion at any point during your care. Your doctor should never discourage you from getting a second opinion.

Many cancer centers now provide second opinions in a virtual format (such as a video consult) or some by phone. Find resources to help prepare for a virtual visit.

Preparing for your appointment

Once your second opinion appointment is scheduled:

  • Call your current doctor’s office and ask them to send a copy of your medical records, test results and pathology reports to the doctor giving the second opinion.
  • You may need to sign a release giving your current doctor permission to send these documents.
  • Before your appointment, call and make sure the doctor giving the second opinion has received your medical documents.
  • Prepare a list of questions to take with you. This can help you remember everything you want to ask and keep the discussion focused on the issues most important to you.
  • Bring a friend or loved one with you to the appointment to help ask questions and discuss the answers later. Having an extra pair of ears may help you recall and understand the information.
  • Recording the discussion on a cell phone, small tape recorder or other device can be helpful, even if someone is with you at the appointment. Check with the doctor before you record the discussion.

If your second opinion is a virtual visit

If your second opinion will be a video consult, these Komen resources may be helpful:

Updated 04/03/24


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