Being diagnosed with a serious, complex, or rare medical condition is scary news. Facing an aggressive treatment that requires surgery is also an intimidating thought that raises a lot of questions and concerns. The best course of action in this situation is to seek a second opinion before making any firm treatment decisions. Here are five reasons why it’s worth while to get a second opinion.
Symptoms Continue After Treatment
Consider getting a second opinion if symptoms of a diagnosis continue after treatment. A patient should never assume that chronic pain or discomfort is part of daily life. If treatment isn’t working, seek a second opinion from other doctors and specialists. Not seeing positive results following treatment could indicate a need to re-evaluate a diagnosis.
A Rare Disease Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with a rare disease that doesn’t have much research available is a terrifying situation. When facing a rare disease, it’s important to do thorough research to learn all there is to know about it. The risk of misdiagnosis is higher with rare diseases. Seeking the second opinion of specialists or doctors with experience treating the disorder can protect against misdiagnosis and ensure the right treatment is sought.
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The Recommended Treatment is Risky
If the recommended treatment is risky, requires surgery, is invasive, or risks lifelong complications, it is wise to get a second opinion. The treatment should fit the diagnosis, so if the treatment is serious, take the time to research options and speak with another doctor or specialist. Patients should never feel that because a doctor suggests a procedure it has to be done. Seek out a doctor or specialist with significant experience and expertise with the condition.
Protection Against Misdiagnosis
Getting a second opinion is a a great way to protect yourself against receiving a misdiagnosis. If a doctor isn’t experienced in treating a problem, isn’t listening to questions and concerns, or isn’t giving enough information, consider seeking a second opinion. Misdiagnosis is more common than patients may think as many conditions and diseases share symptoms. Undergoing treatment for the wrong diagnosis could seriously harm a patient.
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There Are Several Treatment Options
Oftentimes a condition or disease has several treatment options with supporting research. For example, cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation, or mastectomy. Chronic pain can be treated with physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Seeking a second, or even third, opinion when facing several treatment options helps a patient make a confident and informed decision. When exploring treatment options, first confirm that the diagnosis is correct. Ask for a full explanation of each option and its pros and cons, and find out what would happen if treatment is delayed or refused.
It’s also important to remember that when it comes to alternative or experimental treatments, some insurance providers may require a second opinion to approve the treatment. Explore the out-of-pocket and covered costs of each treatment option when making a decision.