When a man is diagnosed with something as serious as prostateThe prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bla... Full Definition cancerCancer is a group of diseases where cells grow abnormally an... Full Definition, he may feel like he has to make a treatment decision right away. But remember—the choices you make now could affect you for the rest of your life. It’s important not to panic and rush into a course of action before understanding all of the details. One way to do that is research; another is getting a second opinion.


Will my doctor be upset if I get a second opinion?

Getting a second opinion isn’t cheating on your doctor. When it comes to your health, it is understandable that you would want as much information as possible. Most doctors will welcome the additional perspective and may even help connect you with a specialist. With your permission, your doctor will share your medical records with the doctor giving the second opinion.


Why should I get a second opinion?

1. It helps you learn about your options. If your second option confirms what your first doctor said, you will be more confident about your choices. But differing opinions are valuable, too, because they expose you to more options. Sometimes there is more than one right answer when it comes to treating prostate cancer. Based on differences in education, experience, and personal preferences, a doctor may be inclined toward certain treatments. A second opinion might offer new ideas.

2. It helps you balance what you hear. Doctors are human beings and their treatment style may be influenced by their personality. Some doctors are conservative; some prefer an aggressive approach. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to style, but hearing multiple opinions may give you a more balanced perspective.

3. It helps you build the right care team. Prostate cancer—all cancer, really—requires different treatments at different times. You may see a urologistA doctor who specializes in the urinary and male reproductiv... Full Definition for screening, a biopsyAn examination of tissue removed from the body to understand... Full Definition, and/or surgery, a medical oncologistA doctor who specializes in medical cancer treatments like c... Full Definition for medications like chemotherapy, or a radiation oncologistA doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation. for radiotherapyTreatment that uses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells.... Full Definition, depending on the choices you make. It’s an advantage to get to know a variety of specialists and what they can offer.

4. It’s your right. Patients have rights, including the right to understand their condition and seek a second opinion if needed. Most health insurance will cover all or part of a second opinion for surgery or other major medical procedures, though it is important to check with your provider to confirm details before getting one.

Above all else, getting a second opinion puts you in charge of your own care. Prostate cancer comes down to a series of decisions you have to make for yourself, so make the first decision to learn everything you can.