Why Does a Second Opinion Matter in Cancer Treatment?
By Samyak Upadhyay, Senior Product Manager, Karkinos Healthcare
The nature of cancer as a disease is very complex. Treatments require judicious call, in terms of choosing a cost-effective care protocol, that assures prognosis with minimum implications. However, it is far more complex than what meets the eye. Several practical difficulties mar the prognosis for a patient. But, in the last few years, with the intervention of digital technologies, several overcoming solutions are being implemented to ease cancer care delivery.
In the last few years, we have been witnessing an increasing trend where patients are directly involved in the decision-making process for their treatment plans. And this trend has also pushed the demand for seeking a second opinion in their cancer treatment.
As the new-age healthcare delivery shifts from a physician-centered care to a patient-centered care model, second opinion or expert opinion is currently viewed as a smart approach to taking control of one’s care pathway.
Defining Second/Expert Opinion
A second opinion (also known as expert opinion) is defined as obtaining a second treatment proposal after a suggested treatment has already been presented by another physician. Advancements in cancer care are progressing at an unprecedented rate, and patients going for a second opinion before proceeding with the treatment can sometimes bring a huge difference on both monetary as well as one’s well being.
Second opinion has now become an integral part of many healthcare systems and is common in cancer care. In recent years, second opinions have evolved as a patient’s right and many patients are obtaining a second opinion for a tailor-made or customized approach to care. It is also one way to reassure the patient on the primary consultation’s efficacy. In case of any ambiguity in the treatment suggested in the first opinion, the second opinion offers a chance to negate those doubts. This restores confidence (which is much needed in psychologically treating a patient).
Research studies on this topic too suggest that (in some cases) the initial opinion on the diagnostics report, radiology image report, and the treatment plan had significantly changed after a second opinion was taken and the patient was able to make the right decision at the right time.
Why is Second Opinion in cancer an acceptable practice?
Diagnosing cancer is complex and frightening, and so is managing it. For a patient, it then becomes important to remain informed and educated about his condition and available treatment options. With the availability of wide treatment choices and advanced procedures, cancer, today, is far more treatable than ever before, like advances in Genomics, Genetics, Immunotherapy, Stem Cells, and Precision Medicine. Getting a second opinion helps to recognize available choices and make an educated decision on what is right for the patient.
Given this veracity, variety and ever evolving treatment options, patients have the right to ask for a second opinion from experts. Besides therapeutic advantages, it also reassures the patient and his family and, eventually, enables them to access the most suitable cost-effective treatment plan.
Karkinos’ Expert Opinion Service
Karkinos Healthcare is a digital oncology service provider that has developed bespoke solutions in cancer care. The company’s hub-and-spoke and further spoke model with a Command Center construct ensures that no person is deprived of care due to accessibility or affordability. An eminent multidisciplinary medical team at Karkinos ensures that every cancer care seeking person is clinically guided in the most appropriate way.
In our ambit of services, Karkinos Healthcare recently introduced Expert Opinion as a service to help cancer patients seek a second opinion from our medically qualified team of doctors.
With advice from the Multidisciplinary Tumor Board, Karkinos’ Expert Opinion service intends to provide better treatment plans to the patient or caregivers and solve all unanswered queries.
Karkinos Expert Opinion Process
The steps begin by accessing a dedicated website for Expert Opinion.
The website can be accessed at Karkinos Expert Opinion
The patient details will first be captured in the registration form. After successful patient registration on the website, Karkinos’ dedicated Cancer Care Assistant or KareMitra will contact the patient/relative/caregiver to explain the entire process of the service.
Patient/relative will be explained on how to and where to send the medical records. After receiving all the medical records, the care assistant will forward them to Karkinos’ multidisciplinary tumor board, who will analyze all the reports.
The Tumor Board members will then prepare a suitable personalized treatment plan for the respective patient. The treatment plan from our experts will then be compiled to prepare a final treatment plan. This will be shared subsequently to the patient/relative/caregiver. After that if they have any follow up questions they can connect to the dedicated cancer care assistant and get them resolved.