How Second Opinions Save Lives
"I think my advice to anyone diagnosed with cancer would be to look outside the medical system. You need to be in charge of your cancer care. You need to do more than what the oncologist is telling you you to do – you need to know more. When it’s life or death, standard care is not good enough. It’s just not good enough. I think it's about empowering yourself, however you do that. CTOAM worked for us, so that’s why it’s my recommendation."
Do you have confidence that you know all there is to know about your cancer?
Many people who are told that they have cancer feel a sense of urgency to decide on a course of treatment. Time is of the essence with cancer, and of course you want to begin treatment as quickly as you can. But you also want to make sure it’s the right treatment. And when you don’t feel confident that you have a full understanding of what has caused your cancer, and of all the options that medical science has to offer, how can you possibly be confident in the solution?
Your health is your responsibility. It’s the most important thing you need to have in order for you to be able to be your best self. You need to know you’re getting the right treatment. A CTOAM Second Opinion will give you that confidence.
What is a Second Opinion?
A second opinion is the process of asking another qualified medical science professional to review your health records and your current treatment plan and then weigh in, with backup, on whether they support the current treatment plan and, if not, what they would change and why.
If you are faced with an important decision about your health, collecting multiple opinions is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you choose the correct treatment.
Why Should I Come to CTOAM for my Second Opinion?
Our team has set a new standard for second opinions in the world of cancer care with the extensive nature of our research and the number of additional treatment options we find for our clients. It is our sole purpose to find our clients new, innovative, evidence-based treatment options and help you and your doctor achieve the possible outcome in your care. During your second opinion, the CTOAM team of scientific researchers, genetic counsellors, dieticians, support counsellors, and advocates will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your current and past medical history and your type & stage of cancer.
Then, to make sure we find all of your options, we research worldwide cancer databases and pour over peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations. We consult with a worldwide network of cancer specialists who are eager to help cancer patients get access to the treatment they need now.
We’ll provide you with a detailed report of our findings and a list of treatment options, in order of preference, and discuss our findings with you and your oncologist to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best possible choice for your care, and beyond.
Our goal is always to ensure we do our best to find our clients treatments that can provide them with more benefit than whatever they are currently prescribed. Well over 95% of the time we find alternatives to your current treatment plan that are providing patients with better outcomes.
And, if we can’t find you a better treatment option or next step, it’s because there isn’t one, and what has been prescribed for you is the best option that medical science can offer you at this time. Either way, a CTOAM second opinion will give you greater confidence in your treatment decisions.
How Long Does a Second Opinion Take?
From first consultation to the delivery of our findings your second opinion (and next steps) review will take no more than two weeks.
Why Get a Second Opinion?
The Benefits of Getting a Second Opinion
The Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Oncology Association, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), are among just a few of the many cancer care associations and advocacy groups around the globe who encourage patients to get a second opinion.
These esteemed agencies list the following ways in which you will benefit from obtaining a second opinion:
- You’ll get a more solid confirmation of your original diagnosis.
- You’ll have the chance to make an important correction to your treatment plan, early on.
- You’ll come away with additional details about the type of cancer you have, such as:
- A clear picture of where your cancer is located;
- What stage of development your cancer has reached;
- Whether your cancer has spread;
- How it is affecting other parts of your body; and
- What can be done about it.
- You’ll gain multiple perspectives from experts in different oncology disciplines, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology.
- You’ll be educated about any additional treatment options that exist.
- You’ll hear about any relevant clinical trials that are available for you and how to access them.
- A second opinion has also been shown to aid in the prevention of unnecessary surgery or invasive treatment.
- It gives you an improved understanding of a diagnosis or treatment schedule.
- You have the possibility of discovering new methods to treat chronic conditions.
- A second opinion can often save you money on medical care over the long term.
- Peace of mind.
"[Alex] was very encouraging and wanted to try whatever we can. I’m happy I chose to do it because it’s given me more time to spend with my family."
Studies Prove the Merits of Medical Second Opinions
Several recent studies examined the role of getting multiple medical opinions and the impact they have on treatment changes and getting a different diagnosis.
As outlined by the Center for Advancing Health, here is what these studies found:
In a University of Michigan study of breast cancer patients, more than half of them changed their treatment after getting a second opinion on their diagnosis from a "tumour board" of oncologists, surgeons and radiation experts. In a John Hopkins study of 6,000 cancer patients, researchers found that one to two out of every 100 patients who sought a second opinion after a tumour biopsy had received a wrong diagnosis.
These studies reaffirm the benefits of seeking an alternative opinion if you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition.
In fact, studies show that over half of the time a patient gets a second opinion, their oncologist changes their original treatment plan to include the new treatment suggestions. This number jumps to over 90% (!), when the full process of precision oncology, also referred to as The Four Pillars, is used.
A second opinion has been shown to help your oncologist (and you!) have greater confidence in their decisions regarding your care.
Additionally, recent studies show that over 60% of oncologists state that they would like to be able to offer more precise tests and access to better treatment options than standard care provides. They know there is more that can be done than they have the time or resources for and welcome recommendations backed by solid data to support them in providing you the best possible care.
Aside from CTOAM, Who Says That a Second Opinion is a Good Idea?
In this CBC News story, the Canadian Medical Association's code of ethics tells doctors:
"Respect your patient's reasonable request for a second opinion from a physician of the patient's choice. "Most colleges of physicians and surgeons also support a patient's option to seek a second opinion."
As posted by Cancer.net, the website of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), on their page in support of cancer patients seeking a second opinion:
"Cancer is a confusing and frightening diagnosis. When a person is diagnosed, it may be hard to make decisions about treatment options. Treatments are constantly getting better, and it is important to find someone who has experience with your type of cancer. Many people seek the knowledge and advice of another doctor. They do this to confirm a diagnosis and evaluate how to treat it. This is called a second opinion. Asking for a second opinion is common practice. It helps people to feel more confident about their health care choices."
The American Cancer Society on Seeking a Second Opinion
When you’re facing cancer treatment, it’s normal to wonder if another doctor could offer a different treatment option. You may want to talk with another doctor who can look at your test results, talk with you about your personal situation, and maybe give you a different take on it. Getting a second opinion can help you feel more sure about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Decisions about your health should be made after you have learned all you can about your diagnosis, prognosis, and available treatment options.
On April 5, 2017, Global news ran a story on how getting a second opinion can save your life.
The Provincial Government of BC and their Medical Service Hub, HealthLink, encourage and support a second opinion. A quick search on-line and you’ll see that your provincial government and local hospital also supports second opinions.
Additionally, most major health insurance companies, such as Blue Cross speak to the value of a second opinion and offer coverage for second opinions.
Why Seek a Second Opinion
Even when you have cancer, very few treatment decisions have to be made right away. You can think about them, and you should think about them. It may help you to know that it’s common for patients to get a second opinion, and most doctors are comfortable with the request. In fact, some insurance companies require you to get one before you start treatment.
According to cancer.org, there are many reasons for getting a second opinion including:
- You want to be sure you have explored all options.
- You think your doctor is underestimating how serious your cancer is.
- Your doctor is not sure what is wrong with you.
- You have a rare or unusual cancer.
- You think another treatment might be available.
- Your doctor is not a specialist in your type of cancer.
- Your doctor tells you there is uncertainty about the type or extent of cancer you have.
- Your doctor gives you a few different treatment options.
- You’re having trouble understanding and communicating with your doctor, or you want your options explained by someone else.
- You just want peace of mind that you are making the right choice.
"Two years ago the BCCA [British Columbia Cancer Agency] told me they had nothing else to offer me other than chemo after my breast cancer spread to my lungs and bones. My sister told me about CTOAM after hearing of some positive results. I contacted Alex at CTOAM, who arranged to have tests completed to determine what was driving my cancer. I also changed to a community oncologist and the two of them collaborated and identified drugs that targeted my mutations and delayed my chemo. I have been travelling and enjoying life since. All I wanted to do was to be able to say to my family that I’ve done the best I could. And, with CTOAM, I know I have."
Will Getting a CTOAM Second Opinion Affect the Way my Doctor Treats Me?
Most doctors welcome the input of other specialists. Most cancer care centres and medical associations around the globe encourage patients to get a second opinion. So, your doctor should be both familiar with and supportive of this process. A good doctor understands your right to be well informed and should support a second opinion.
Factors which may have an effect on a doctor’s opinion are the technology available to that doctor, school of thought, where they were trained, individual methods of treatment and experience in dealing with that particular diagnosis. So it makes sense that a different doctor may come up with a different diagnosis, or at least offer a different opinion as to treatment choices.
By getting a second opinion, you can expand your options about different treatment methods which may be most suitable for you and your situation. Being informed is always your best option!
There is nothing lost by getting another opinion, just to make sure that the first doctor’s opinion is correct. When the first doctor’s opinion is the same or similar to the second opinion, your confidence will be increased. And if the opinions differ, you’ll receive new information that can open doors to new treatments.
With the CTOAM No Risk Second Opinion, you’ll know you’ve explored every cancer related nook and cranny, worldwide, and that you are being presented with the very best options that medical science has to offer you today. And if we can’t find you at least one treatment option that is showing results better than what you’ve been prescribed, your CTOAM second opinion is free!
CTOAM is, and will always be, years ahead of standard care. Why? Because our cancer experts spend every day researching the latest advancements in cancer care. Reach out today to schedule your CTOAM Second Opinion.
Register for a Precision Second Opinion.