A second opinion or alternative evaluation of diagnosis and treatment are important steps in promoting positive outcomes. Most patients report that alternative advice is often much more relevant when compared to the initial advice and proves beneficial to patients. Cancer is a life-threatening condition and a second opinion promotes a better understanding of the diagnosis. It also triggers a change in the treatment plan.
India has a limited number of cancer specialists with most doctors available in big cities. Patients may have to compromise the quality of cancer care to avoid poor outcomes. Most cancer patients do not have enough time, and initiating the right treatment is critical to the successful recovery of patients. Therefore, you may be able to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment pathway by consulting with a multidisciplinary team for a second opinion. Cancer requires a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. However, the main challenge in India is access to the right oncologists. Other problems are affordability and the need for advanced treatment centers.
What is a Multidisciplinary Review A multidisciplinary review consists of a team of physicians belonging to multiple specialties such as medical, surgical, and radiation oncology. Radiation oncologists are responsible for radiation therapy treatment and develop treatment plans to administer accurate treatment according to the plan. To accomplish their purpose, radiation oncologists may work with a management plan and order imaging and tests, work with other doctors, and prescribe the necessary medications. A medical oncologist uses chemotherapy and medication to treat cancer. The two most common modes of treatment utilized by medical oncologists are immunotherapy and targeted therapy. A surgical oncologist performs surgery to help you get rid of tissue or a tumor. Surgical oncologists also perform biopsies that are useful in the diagnosis of cancer. A multidisciplinary team helps validate the treatment plan and provide recommendations for better treatment options. This strategy reduces the chances of inaccurate treatment and also helps to utilize financial resources optimally. Above all, it helps patients understand the nature of their illnesses and make informed decisions, validate treatment pathways, and provide a sense of empowerment.
What Statistics Confirm the Importance of a Second Opinion A Mayo Clinic study confirmed that 88% of the patients get a new diagnosis after a second opinion. This refined diagnosis positively affects their treatment plan and reduces mortality. The high rate of prevalence of cancer in India creates several difficulties pertaining to treatment. About 1.25 million cases of cancer are diagnosed in India every year. The number of deaths due to cancer is an estimated 800,000 per annum. These rates of disease prevalence and mortality indicate that a second opinion could be the right way forward. Current statistics support this fact as 30% of the patients diagnosed with cancer who got a second opinion found a mismatch between the initial and alternate treatment plans. Further, several other studies mentioned in an Economic Times review also indicate the value of a second opinion:
- A Mayo Clinic study pointed out that one in five patients who took a second opinion received a different diagnosis.
- About 80% of cancer patients who took a second opinion benefited as per a study conducted by onco.com in 2018.
- The same study indicated that 40% of the patients surveyed had a different treatment plan.
- A Johns Hopkins study indicated that a second opinion was a life-saving measure.
Therefore, the complexities associated with cancer indicate that a second opinion is the right approach to diagnosing and treating the condition. However, current challenges such as lack of experts, affordability, and the presence of advanced treatment centers warrant the need for a multidisciplinary review by a team of specialists from the radiation, surgical, oncology, and medical faculties.
KareOptions can help you overcome these difficulties through its sustainable partnerships with physicians belonging to leading medical centers. Our custom-tailored services ensure that you get the right guidance from experts belonging to multiple specialties. Experts in the field of oncology with many years of experience can provide you with an accurate review of your diagnosis and treatment through the Medical Second Opinion Service (MSOS). Our other services intended to support you through your cancer journey include Transfer of Care Coordination (TOCC), Continuity of Care (COC), and Second Opinion Board review (SOBR).