January 22, 2019
By: Medical Team PathSOS

It’s Not About Mistrust- Why Oncologist Want a Review of the Cancer Diagnosis? - PathSOS


When Arvind scheduled his oncology doctor's appointment, he’d already been to a number of different doctors. It had taken months for his local doctors to figure out that the ulcer in his mouth was not a simple sore.

As his visit with the oncologist neared, he was eager to get some clear guidance and form a treatment plan. But when he got there, Arvind, then 30, met a doctor he felt was cold and impersonal and simply too busy!

“He just said, ‘ Go do all the things on your bucket list,’” said Arvind, a father of two.  So many questions, and no answers, just a big list of investigations and complicated treatments.

Arvind, came out of the doctor’s office with his wife, knowing they needed to seek another opinion – just to be sure and find those answers they were seeking.

Yet some patients may feel reluctant to turn to another doctor, sometimes for fear of offending/challenging their original doctor. Most so not know how to go about getting another opinion.

Dr Abha Malik, an oncopathologist, says that she wants patients to realize that most of oncologists view second opinions as important and often necessary. Infact it is a standard of care in the leading centers of the world.

“Some patinets are hesitant to seek a second opinion because they think they will offend their doctor and it may interfere with their subsequent doctor-patient relationship,” said Dr Malik.

Some patients, especially older ones, may not ask for a second opinion because they feel they should not cheat on their doctors.

“But in reality it’s not cheating,” she said. “It’s your life and it’s better to get an unbiased perspective from multiple  carers.”

It may even be advisable for patients to seek another opinion in diseases like cancer. People who are facing a cancer diagnosis should feel at ease with their treatment decisions, she said. And it may mean getting a second opinion or even changing hospitals or doctors.

“You need to gather all the information you may need to make a sound decision and be comfortable with your cancer care treatment team. This is really serious and impacts your life and so you deserve the opportunity to get atleast a couple of opinions.”

After their visit, Arvind and his wife and his wife reached out to friends and family members in hopes of a recommendation. They searched on internet and stumbled upon PathSOS, an online cancer second opinion consultation service. Arvind contacted them via net and was promptly called up by their patient coordinator who asked him to submit all his medical records online and his biopsy slides for pathology and treatment review.

The slides were reviewed by a highly subspecialized oncopathologist who made some important changes in the diagnostic report that altered his staging and treatment options.

Following which the radiation oncologist and surgical oncologist in the virtual team looked at his case that led to a comprehensive case review and treatment planning.

With this expert review report, Arvind and his wife were much more sure about their options. Also the reporting format of PathSOS doctors was much more integrated that helped them get a better overview. Some of the PathSOS experts that looked at Arvind’s case, were international experts that he could never have thought of getting a consultation from, since travel overseas is an expensive and complex affair.

 “PathSOS review gave me the confidence about my diagnosis and helped me make informed choices about my treatment’.

 “It just felt good to know that we had done the best we could”– and that he really wanted to. That part of it was probably just as important as the treatments that he took subsequently in his hometown. His doctor even confided that the PathSOS review had given him insights and handholding from another team of specialists.

Even when a "second opinion" does not make a big change in diagnosis or treatment, it’s just good to know that you are doubly sure. Because it’s not work the risk to  make such a mistake.

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