January 22, 2019
By: Dr. Abha Malik

Getting The Diagnosis Right is the Critical Step in Cancer Treatment - PathSOS

Patients who are diagnosed with cancer have to make life-altering decisions at a time of overwhelming worry for the whole family. That’s why it’s important to seek a second opinion before beginning cancer treatment, to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and that treatment options are appropriate.

Getting it Right is critical

  • A complete change of diagnosis (someone received a 'diagnosis of cancer' but does not actually have cancer, or someone has cancer but was told no cancer was present); or
  • Accurate typing of cancer type can dramatically alter treatment options.

In literature, diagnosis error rate in cases varies from 5% to 40%, and is especially high for certain cancers, such as skin, breast and prostate.

Not all Cancers are the same

Just because a tumor forms in the breast doesn’t mean it’s the same as every other breast tumor, or that it should be treated the same way.

Distinguishing between the sub-types of cancer, and choosing treatment options accordingly, means a patient with a more aggressive disease should be offered more aggressive therapy, while the one with a lower risk of recurrence may want to avoid the expense and significant side effects of a treatment that is probably not needed.

When should you seek a second opinion ?

It’s always a good idea, since another pair of eyes and independent review is especially important in these situations:

  • Your lab has not provided you with a full, clear explanation of your pathology report, in a language you understand.
  • A good doctor will usually suggest that you get another opinion if there are questions about your treatment or diagnosis

Your physician wants you to start cancer chemotherapy or surgery tomorrow. Almost nothing in the world of cancer care requires that kind of immediacy, except patients with acute leukemia cases in which a tumor is compressing a vital structure, such as the heart or large blood  vessels or certain other rare conditions If your physician is pressuring you to do something immediately because there’s no time to waste, that isn’t a good approach.

What to Ask Yourself

If you’re not sure, consider these questions:

  • Am I confident in the diagnosis or treatment options I’ve been given?
  • Am I comfortable with my treating physician?
  • Has my physician clearly explained all treatment options – not just the ones he or she prefers?
  • Are there clinical research studies offering new treatments for my cancer?
  • Was my cancer diagnosed at an office or community hospital setting or in a comprehensive cancer center?

Arranging for a second opinion

Most physicians welcome second opinions. Telling your doctor, you’d like a second opinion will make it easier for us to discuss your condition with your doctor and to obtain any additional information that may be needed.

At PATHSOS most patients who need a second opinion are seen within a week.

To contact  PATHSOS call 0124 4995078 You may also visit OUR website at WWW.PATHSOS.NET