The Value of a Cancer Second Opinion

Carrie Peterson, MD, colorectal surgeon, talks about why you should take time to get a second opinion for a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Peterson also describes what you should expect during your cancer second opinion appointment with the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network and how easy it is to get started.

If you've been diagnosed with cancer or a loved one has cancer, you know how overwhelming it can be. There are important decisions to be made, including where to get treatment and what treatment is best for you. You may wonder about the value of getting a cancer second opinion.

What does a cancer second opinion offer — what is the value?

One of the most important things is to make sure that you have the right diagnosis — especially if it's an uncommon cancer, that can be really tricky. And, of course, having the right diagnosis then dictates the treatment options.

Secondly, it can help you understand what options are available — particularly if you're thinking about a clinical trial because not every clinical trial is available at every institution.

What can a person expect from a cancer second opinion with the Froedtert & MCW health network?

Our doctors will review your medical records, and they might examine you again. And then they'll sit down and have a conversation with you about all the different treatment options that are available. The goal is to understand the pros and cons of those options and how they relate to your priorities and goals.

Ultimately, at the end of that conversation, you should have all the information you need to make the decision that's best for you.

When there's already a diagnosis, sometimes it can seem too overwhelming to seek a second opinion. How can that be resolved?

That's a common feeling for people. We try to address that by making it as easy as possible for you. Really, all you have to do is make an appointment, and then our team will get all the records and get all the information so that's available for your visit.