[MOL] Second opinions and YOU!!!!! [03079] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Second opinions and YOU!!!!!

Interdisciplinary Panels, Second Opinions, and You

"You can bet," writes a doctor recently to a cancer patient seeking his advice, "if anyone in my family developed cancer, I'd have them here so fast their head would be spinning." The "here" he writes of is a cancer research center offering second opinion services to patients. Such cancer centers are located throughout the country. A second-opinion may make all the difference in a patient's fight against cancer, not in just boosting survival chances but also in assuring access to new therapies with fewer side-effects.

Second-opinion services at cancer research centers often involve a review of the patient's medical records by a panel of doctors from several treatment specialties. The panel may consist of surgeons, radiologists, chemotherapists, and specialists from new fields of therapy such as hormone-associated therapies, cryosurgery, or immunotherapies.

Many cancer research centers offer second opinion services that are modest in cost and sometimes free. Many insurance policies cover the cost of such second opinions, and some even require that a second opinion be obtained.

There are good reasons to get a second opinion, particularly from a multi- disciplinary panel representing several treatment specialties, as offered by some cancer centers. "There is such rivalry between the different branches altogether too often," warns the physician mentioned above. For example, a surgeon familiar with treating a certain type of cancer with conventional surgery may believe this to be the only real treatment option, and present it this way to the patient. In the setting of an interdisciplinary panel, this surgeon may be more likely to respond, "Maybe if you can get a good result with this promising new treatment, we can avoid amputation" - or the removal of a partially diseased but still functioning organ. With such a review, the patient may come out a real winner.

ICA's information program for cancer patients - ICARE - can provide a you with a list of second-opinion services. This list is also provided through our Cancer Therapy Reviews which attempt to make patients aware of their full range of treatment options. ICA wants to help. If someone close is a cancer patient, and needs this information, call us at I-800-ICARE-61. Because of the generous giving of caring individuals and foundations, ICA is able to provide this information to patients and their families at no cost.

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