How to get a second opinion for cancer
When they’ve got cancer, many people seek the advice of more than one doctor.
Some do it because they have doubts about their diagnosis. Others want to be certain the proposed treatment plan is right for them. Many are looking for reassurance. And others don’t feel comfortable talking to their doctor or hospital consultant about their cancer.
So if this sounds like you, you’re probably wondering how to get the advice of more than one doctor.
How do I get a second opinion for cancer? What do I need to do? Who do I need to speak with? And what do I need to say?
We’ve answered your FAQs below.
Am I entitled to a second opinion?
Although you don’t have a legal right to a second opinion on the NHS, you do have a right to ask for one.
Your doctor will be happy to discuss your concerns and work with you to decide whether a second opinion on the NHS is the best option for you.
Alternatively, you can pay for a second opinion privately.
And you can return to the NHS to continue your treatment at any time. It’s essential for you to be certain that your diagnosis is correct. And that any suggested treatment is the most suitable for you and your specific cancer type. That’s why you’re entitled to seek as many opinions as you want. As long as you’re prepared to pay for them privately.
“You can pay for a second opinion privately and return to the NHS at any time.”
“You’re entitled to seek as many opinions as you want – as long as you’re prepared to pay for them privately.”
How do I get a second opinion for cancer privately?
Let’s start by getting clear about the options available
If you’re looking for complete confidence in your diagnosis and clarity on your treatment options, a Pathology Review followed by an Expert Second Opinion is the most powerful combination.
A Pathology Review and Expert Second Opinion
First, a Pathologist reviews a sample of your tumour tissue. This test is helpful in determining or confirming what type, grade and stage cancer you have.
At a separate Second Opinion Consultation, a specialist in your specific cancer type would then use the Pathology Review alongside your other clinical information to outline the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
A powerful combination
This combination gives you the best possible chance of accuracy and subsequent clarity on the options available. So you can move forward with confidence that you’re following the most appropriate path.
“This combination gives you the best possible chance of accuracy and subsequent clarity on the treatment options available.”
To arrange this service privately, you can do your own research and contact your chosen specialist directly.
For the Pathology Review, you’ll need to liaise with the hospital that’s holding your tumour sample and arrange for a sample to be sent to the laboratory of your choice. For a second opinion with your chosen consultant, you’ll need to arrange for the safe transfer of your medical records – and Pathology Review findings – in advance of your consultation. By law, you’re entitled to receive a response from the NHS no later than 40 days after your application to have access to your medical records is received.
When making a list of the things to include, be sure to include any consultant notes, scans, blood tests, radiology reports or pathology reports. As well as samples from your NHS trust, treating doctor(s) and any private hospitals.
“Be sure to include any consultant notes, scans, blood tests, radiology reports or pathology reports. As well as samples from your NHS trust, treating doctor and any private hospitals. Alternatively, HSC can do this for you.”
Or if this proves too challenging and time-consuming, you can use HSC instead.
Our health and wellbeing benefits include arrangement of a Pathology Review plus an Expert Second Opinion with a specialist in your cancer type. Arranging the safe transfer of your samples and medical records is all part of the service.
In addition, we work hard to gather your records as quickly as possible. And significantly faster than the 40-day standard NHS hospitals and clinics work towards. Once gathered, we’ll safely transfer them to your chosen specialist with a case history summary and anything else you’d like them to know.