Cancer Second Opinion

Confidence in your care plan is essential, and a second opinion can provide that. If you are considering a second opinion, the CHI Health Cancer Care team is here to help. Physicians generally value the information gained in a second opinion, and will not be offended if you pursue this option. Don’t hesitate to discuss getting a second opinion from CHI Health with your oncologist.

To choose the most effective cancer therapy, it is essential to determine the exact type and stage of cancer. That’s one reason second opinion consultations are common in cancer care.

While it’s rare for a diagnosis to change drastically -- such as from malignant to benign – it’s not unusual for a second opinion to uncover a differences in tumor staging, anatomical make-up or specific biomarker classifications. Having the most precise information is essential for developing the best possible treatment plan.

In fact, a second opinion may even be required by many insurers before treatment costs will be covered. For that reason, a second-opinion consultation is reimbursed by most insurance companies.

According to the American Cancer Society, reasons to get a second opinion include:

  • Rare or unusual cancer. 
  • Uncertainty about the type or stage of cancer. 
  • Weighing different treatment options. 
  • Peace of mind that diagnosis/treatment choices are correct.
  • Insurance company requires another opinion before starting treatment 

Second Opinion Process 

The first step is to contact your insurance company to determine what is covered and what you may have to pay out-of-pocket. You may request a consultation second opinion from an oncologist or a pathology second opinion. 

Depending on your case, you’ll need to gather copies of information. These may include:

  • Pathology report from biopsy or surgery 
  • Operative report 
  • Hospital discharge summary 
  • Treatment plan summary 
  • List of medications including doses and time taken

You can request these from your physician, or you may need to contact the medical records department of the hospital or clinic where you were seen. Check for an online option for requesting records, and make sure to keep originals of all documents. Our Cancer Care team will offering assistance in requesting records once insurance has approved the second opinion.

Second Opinion Pathology 

A second opinion pathology consultation can determine if a tumor is localized or has metastasized. It may provide an accurate diagnosis when the original diagnosis is in question. A second opinion can also pinpoint the specific type and stage of tumor. All of this information is essential for treatment planning. 

CHI Health provides second opinion pathology consultations for a wide range of cancer subspecialties, including: