Is it good to get a second opinion?

My mum is currently facing a second recurrence for stage 4 oc. She has been having maintenance on avastin since her chemo finished in august 2012 (gemcitabine/cisplatin) but unfortunately she has been having a few tummy pains and a ca125 test has shown it has gone from 72 to 277.

We are waiting for a scan later this week and then will meet with mums onc next week to discuss options.

From reading other ladies stories on here I am keen for mum to get a second opinion this time at the royal marsden. I want the very best for her and to make sure that we have covered all her options and get her the very best care and treatment. We went to mums GP today to ask him to refer her but he seemed very anti her getting a second opinion. He said that the care would be the same everywhere. I had to really fight for him to agree to refer her and now I'm wondering if getting a second opinion is the right option.

Where mum is being treated at the moment is excellent and I have no doubt that what they suggest will be the right course if treatment for her but I just want to make sure that she gets the best advice. Am I so wrong? I was certain before going to the GP that it was the right thing to do but I didn't expect the GP to be so difficult. Mum is happy to have a second opinion but I think she worries about offending her onc. Do you think I am right to seek a second opinion? Or am I being too pushy?

By the way he agreed to do it in the end. Thank you all in advance of any advice you can offer xxx

4 Replies

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  • hello flyhigh, i have had second opinion at Royal Marsden and also second third opinion at Harley Street. Both opinions were very helpful. I heared with cancer there is never enough of opinions...

    good luck to your mum

    best wishes

    zuzi x

  • Dear Flyhigh

    I'm hoping someone with more knowledge of the NHS will post a response. Some while ago a similar question was asked and I recall one of the members, who works for the NHS, told us that all patients are entitled to a second opinion and this shouldn't offend the local doctor. I'm astonished your GP made it so difficult for you.

    If it helps to back up your resolve to have a second opinion I'll share my friend's story. She's 64, and was told she had secondary cancer but the oncologist couldn't say where the primary cancer was. She had a massive build-up of ascites and underwent two types of chemotherapy back-to-back: one for abdominal cancer, another for gynaecological cancer. Neither worked. She was then told by her oncologist in Cardiff that she had months to live and the manner of her death would be by starvation due to the build-up and hardening of jelly-like fluid in her abdomen. She was referred for a Macmillan Nurse and palliative care.

    By chance she heard about the Sugarbaker Technique which is used for a rare cancer called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. She asked for a referral to Basingstoke and was told by her oncologist in Cardiff that it wasn't worth pursuing a second opinion. She pressed ahead with her request and the team at Basingstoke diagnosed the cancer from the scan taken by her own oncologist. She had surgery in January 2012 and was told they'd removed every visible trace of the cancer and that she can expect a complete recovery.

    I'm not saying this is a common experience but I think it argues the case for asking for a second opinion and your doctor and oncologist should support that request. It will give you some reassurance and as you say the 2nd opinion may well confirm the first - but at least you will feel you have done everything you can.

    Wishing you and your mum love and luck. xxxx Annie

  • Dear Flyhigh,

    I think Annie's comments are so encouraging, now you have started the ball rolling for a second opinion you just as well go with it, what harm can it do? at least you'll be satisfied that your mum is having the best care, my friend who's a consultant says that it is not an issue to them, and they don't take it personal, he says it is every patients right to do this.

    Best wishes love x G x

  • Thank you all for your responses. I feel a bit happier tonight and sure that we've done the right thing asking for a second opinion. I just didn't expect to have to have such a battle with the GP!

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