Getting a Second Opinion

Words to Know

Pre-certification means that you must obtain authorization from your insurance company before it will agree to pay for certain consultations, procedures, or treatments. In some cases, your primary doctor’s or oncologist’s office may take care of pre-certification. But be sure to check, because without pre-certification, you may have to pay for the medical expenses out-of-pocket.

Before starting any treatment, you should get a second opinion about your diagnosis, including the stage of the cancer and the treatment plan your doctor is proposing.

To get a second opinion, you’ll need to gather your medical records, which include:

  • Biopsy slides
  • Pathology report
  • Proposed treatment plan

Before seeking a second opinion, be sure to check with your insurance company about its policy. Some plans require a second opinion. Others may cover one only if you request pre-certification, which is prior approval of the consultation.

Getting a second opinion about your diagnosis

Words to Know

Oncologists are physicians who study, diagnose, and treat cancer. Each specializes in a specific area, such as cancers of the reproductive system or blood. A surgical oncologist specializes in cancer surgery.

To get a second opinion about your diagnosis, you’ll need to find a liver pathologist at a hospital or cancer center to review your liver tissue slides and prepare a second pathology report. You can find recommendations of specialists you can go to for a second opinion by asking your primary doctor, the oncologist to whom you were referred, a nearby hospital, a state or local medical society, or a medical school.

Getting a second opinion is important since your treatment plan is based on your diagnosis. Seeking the opinion of another pathologist can help make you confident that the diagnosis is accurate before you begin any treatment.

Getting a second opinion about your treatment

Getting a second opinion about your treatment is also important. Since many people with liver cancer seek therapy through clinical trials, you may find that there are a number of options available to you. That’s why it’s important you not only seek a second opinion, but that you’re comfortable with the treatment you decide on.

Don’t worry that you’ll offend your first doctor by seeking another doctor’s opinion. Most expect you’ll seek a second opinion, and some will even refer you to another specialist for a different perspective.

If the two doctors you approach have very different opinions about what’s best for you, you should either choose the plan you’re most comfortable with, or seek a third perspective.

Taking the time you need

It will take some time to gather all of your medical records and get a second — or even third — opinion. In most cases, it’s not a problem to delay starting treatment for a few weeks as you decide on a plan. Taking the time you need will help you feel confident that you’re making the best decision for you. However, especially if you’re nervous about delaying treatment, you should talk to your doctor about an appropriate timeframe.

Latest Cancer News

We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.