Five Reasons a Second Opinion After Cancer Diagnosis Is Worth Your Time
If you’re newly diagnosed with cancer, a second opinion may confirm recommendations, bring other treatment possibilities to light, or offer peace of mind during a turbulent time.
Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls offers consultations for a second opinion for all types of cancer, that include a full review of your diagnosis and medical history from an entire team of cancer experts – in one setting.
Our cancer experts give key reasons why a second opinion is worth considering.
Reason 1: Peace of Mind
A second opinion can relieve some of the anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
“If you have any doubts, you should definitely get a second opinion,” said Katie VanBeek, Director of Avera Breast Health and Radiation Oncology Services. “When you’re empowered with information and support, it can help you feel better.
The extra knowledge will help you move forward with confidence — and that’s what your team wants for you.
“Don’t worry about what anyone else will think,” she added. “As a patient, you’re the priority. Make sure you choose treatment that provides the best possible outcome for you.”
Reason 2: Different Treatment Options
You can expect high-quality care and technology wherever you seek treatment but there might be small differentials you’ll learn about by getting a second opinion.
Avera’s second opinion opportunities have helped younger patients with more aggressive forms of breast cancer, said Tricia Merrigan, MD, Avera breast cancer surgeon
“Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is an option patients may only learn about after coming for a second opinion,” she said. “At Avera, we strive to offer the latest in cancer research. Without a second opinion, patients may not realize they could be a candidate for clinical trials or innovative therapies.”
Other patients have learned about intraoperative radiation therapy or IORT, a radiation treatment that happens at the time of surgery that can shorten the course of radiation treatments after surgery for early-stage breast cancer patients.
Reason 3: Sharing Information
Does your oncologist have support while creating a care plan for you? How your cancer care operates could also vary.
Avera Cancer Institute is an accredited cancer network — that means you get the same quality care, no matter which of our six locations you’re treated at. This is in part due to our approach, which includes multidisciplinary teams that meet to discuss patients’ treatment options. This ensures your doctor can use the collective knowledge of the entire Avera team to create a personalized plan for your type of cancer.
“Every day, our providers work together as a cohesive, multidisciplinary team, doing what’s best for each individual patient,” Merrigan said. “We’ve designed specialized teams so patients benefit from an entire group of experts – not just one outlook.”
Reason 4: Added Services
Because cancer is complicated, you’ll have a large team and a number of support services available to you. These can make a difference in how you get through the day-to-day stress of treatment.
Avera’s specialized team includes:
Navigators serve as expert guides throughout the course of care.
“The days and weeks after receiving a cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming time,” said Avera Breast Cancer Navigator Nancy Terveen. “We help by taking care of all of the records and setting up the appointments.”
Another support is the Navigation Center, a call center that’s answered 24/7 if you or a loved one have questions about anything cancer-related.
Avera’s navigation system was created to put the patient first, knowing that questions and symptoms can occur any time of day.
Reason 5: You Meet with the Team at One Time
Second opinion consultations give patients the rare opportunity to meet with and receive personalized treatment recommendations from medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and cancer surgeons — all in one visit.
The experts come together to answer your questions and discuss possible treatment.
Patients also learn about a variety of cancer support services, including:
- Counseling and support groups
- Genetic testing and counseling
- Integrative medicine services such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage