Your GP and multidisciplinary team (MDT) will use national treatment guidelines to plan the most suitable treatment for you. Many people are happy with the treatment their doctor has planned for them, but some people want a second opinion.
Asking for a second opinion is not a legal right, but most doctors will be happy to refer you.
Here are some of the reasons why you might ask for a second opinion.
You may have doubts about your diagnosis
If you are unsure about your diagnosis, it is important to ask for a further appointment with your GP or consultant. You can talk about any concerns you have. And they can go through the results of any tests with you to explain what they have found. You should be able to ask for a written copy of your test results before the appointment. It may help to write down your concerns before your appointment.
You may not understand what you have been told
Many people find it difficult to take information in when they are anxious or upset. If you are unsure about what you have been told, ask for another appointment so that you can go through the information again. You may find it helpful to talk to another member of the healthcare team, such as a clinical nurse specialist. It can also help to take a family member or friend with you so they can help you remember what is said.
You may not be happy with the treatment your doctor has recommended
You may have heard from someone or read somewhere that another treatment for your illness is better than the one planned for you. It is important to remember that even if you have the same type of cancer as someone else, the same treatment may not be suitable for you. For example, someone else’s cancer may be at a different stage, or they may have another medical condition to consider. If you are concerned about your treatment, ask for a further appointment with your doctor so you can talk to them about your concerns. They should be able to explain why they have recommended a particular treatment for you.
You may find it difficult to talk to your doctor or specialist
If you find it difficult to talk to your GP or consultant, it may help to tell them this. You could ask to see someone else in their team, for example a registrar, a nurse specialist, or another GP in the practice.