INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - A cancer diagnosis comes with a mountain of worries - and a potentially overwhelming amount of information.
If you're confused about your diagnosis or have uncertainties about your physician's recommended treatment, getting a second opinion can help.
"It's important for patients to be 100-percent comfortable and at ease with their physician," said Karen Norris, a registered nurse who serves as both a nurse navigator and a coordinator for Franciscan Health Indianapolis' Second Opinion Clinic.
"Many patients coming to the Second Opinion Clinic simply need to hear about their diagnosis and treatment options from another point of view," Norris said. "It may be the same message, but if it's presented with a different approach from a different personality, sometimes that's all a patient needs to make them feel more at ease."
Patients are under no obligation to receive their treatment from Franciscan Health after receiving the second opinion. On the contrary, clinic physicians provide consultations to patients from all over the state (even providing international consultations), and they encourage patients to thoughtfully weigh the many factors involved when deciding what treatment and care team they will choose. Clinic physicians encourage patients to remain closer to home, if appropriate treatment and management is available, as a way to conserve their time, energy and money.
Second-opinion consultations are typically covered by insurance, and Norris stresses that clinic staff members make every effort to confirm coverage with insurance companies before scheduling patient appointments.
It's common to feel a sense of urgency after a cancer diagnosis, but be cautious about jumping into treatment without taking time to consider your options. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical. It’s important that your cancer has been staged correctly (0 being non-invasive to 4 being advanced or metastatic) and that you receive highly individualized care that will target your cancer appropriately.
Peace of mind is hard to come by after a cancer diagnosis, but a second opinion may pave the way.