Seeking Second Opinion

It is okay to ask for a second opinion and it is important that all your questions are addressed before you make an informed decision.

A second opinion can:

  • Confirm or clarify your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Help you to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of being on the clinical trial.
  • Assure you of the diagnosis of your sarcoma and the treatment advice given by your doctor.
  • Help you to be more informed, involved and engaged in your care and treatment.

Do keep in mind that seeking a second opinion often takes time – not just for an appointment to be made but also for the other sarcoma service to thoroughly review your case with scans and pathology, which can take several weeks to complete.

Before you seek a second opinion, here are a few questions and points to consider:

  1. Are you already being managed at a sarcoma service equipped with a multidisciplinary team?
    • If your answer is YES, your treating team may already be aware of other treatment options that are available in Australia and beyond.
    • Sarcoma specialists in Australia and New Zealand are often well connected with international sarcoma experts. It is important that you ask as many questions as possible to your treating team who has all the information regarding your diagnosis (e.g. films, biopsy results).
    • You can take your time to make a decision about the recommended treatment without committing straightaway.
  2. Have you spoken to your GP?
    • It often helps to speak to your own GP, who knows you best. He/she may help you come up with more relevant questions that you should bring up with your treating team before making any decision.
  3. Have you spoken to sarcoma liaison nurse?
    • Being diagnosed with a cancer can be overwhelming, especially if it is a rare cancer with limited information. It may bring up a wide range of feelings you are not used to dealing with. Make sure you ask for a nurse who could provide you with additional support. Some treating centres may offer psychology or counselling support on site.
  4. Are you unwell from your sarcoma and in need of urgent treatment?
    • If you are unwell from underlying sarcoma, it is probably in your best interest to get on with the recommended treatment as soon as possible without much delay.

After seeking a second opinion and when you have all the information you need, you may feel more confident to make a decision then.