Three doctors talking to each other and then talking to a patient

A Second Set of Eyes and Ears Never Hurts!

Last updated: October 2022

It wasn't until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that I started to realize the benefit of a second opinion. From both personal and professional experiences, I believe patients don't seek second opinions for two main reasons.

Reason one is they don’t want the doctor to take offense to them seeking another opinion and reason two is as most humans we tend to naturally trust all medical doctors; I mean they did go to medical school and went through how much training why shouldn’t we trust them?

I think it’s safe to say that we put medical doctors on this pedestal of being superheroes (don’t get me wrong most are) and that no matter what we are diagnosed with every doctor should have every answer and every cure.

As patients, we have the right to a second opinion

Professionally I come from the medical field (I’ve worked in 3 different specialties of medicine over the last 11 years) so I know all about second opinions. Prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, from a professional viewpoint, I would have considered myself neutral when being asked about second opinions.

Did I always push for patients to always seek a second opinion just because? No. Am I against or do I feel a certain way when a patient states they are seeking a second opinion? No.

As patients (myself included) you have the right to seek another opinion and you shouldn’t feel bad for doing so! Also, as a patient myself, I do understand the feeling of not wanting your initial doctor to feel a certain way when you choose to seek a second opinion. For me personally, that was my biggest struggle when I chose to leave my initial oncologist. I never wanted to be that patient that made a doctor feel like I didn’t trust or value their care and knowledge.

How do we know when it is time for a second opinion?

Some of you might be wondering or asking when and what is a good reason to seek a second opinion. My answer is when your gut instinct tells you to!

From my personal ovarian cancer journey, my first red flag went up when my initial oncologist decided to forgo chemotherapy as a frontline treatment after a Stage 3AII diagnosis. There’s room for discussion from a medical standpoint however personally I was never at peace with the decision however she was the doctor, not me! A year and a half later my second red flag went up when my CA125 began to increase along with other raised concerns and I was repeatedly being told,” You are young and healthy its nothing to be concerned about.”

Don’t get me wrong my initial oncologist was so nice, good bedside manner, personable, etc. But my gut was just telling me something wasn’t right! In retrospect, I wish I would have acted on that gut feeling much sooner. Whether it’s a gut feeling, a misdiagnosis, your voice not being heard, etc. you can choose at any point and for any reason to seek a second opinion.

We are our best advocates

If you are like me and not wanting to be “that patient”...STOP! You have every right to a second opinion. I encourage EVERY woman who is fighting ovarian cancer to seek a second opinion even if your initial doctor feels like your medical doctor/oncologist “superhero”.

We as women fighting ovarian cancer must put ourselves and our health first. We are our best advocates and no one, not even a medical, doctor knows our bodies better than we do. Be adamant, be persistent, and get a second opinion; an extra set of eyes and ears never hurts! I can sit here and write this article today because I truly believe my decision to seek a second opinion and transfer care truly saved my life, it could save yours too!

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