Second opinion in cancer treatment

Why Does a Second Opinion Matter in Cancer Treatment?

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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. 

Who can seek an expert opinion?
Patients, caregivers, and treating oncologists can all use Karkinos Expert. 
How will my physician /treating oncologist react? Will they mind?
Treating oncologists are accustomed to patients consulting organ-specific experts when making treatment recommendations. These days every oncology care provider ensures that a multi-disciplinary tumor board is set-up to bring about a collaborative approach to deciding the customized treatment plan for a patient . 
How do I submit my reports?
You can send your health reports through WhatsApp on 8268282682 or email us at You can take pictures on your phone or submit scanned copies of your reports. If you face any issues, our Cancer Care assistant or Karemitra will help you.
What reports and information do I need to submit?
The patient’s medical reports can be submitted along with the questions for the experts. The required medical records are: Imaging reports, Scopy Reports, Blood investigation reports, Biopsy Reports and all other medical reports. 
You can also mention your treatment preferences such as a desire to avoid surgery, and travel or financial constraints. Our experts will take this into account while recommending an appropriate customized treatment protocol.
What advantage does Karkinos Expert offer?
Karkinos gives you access to experts without needing to travel or wait in long queues. The most reliable way to find the best treatment option is to consult multiple expert oncologists to find a consensus opinion. A person with esophageal cancer, for example, might need to consult a surgeon, a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist, all of whom need to have expertise in esophageal cancer. We give these experts digital tools to collaborate and come to a consensus so that you don’t need to weigh different expert recommendations yourself.
Does Karkinos Expert help with follow-up questions?
If you have follow up questions or if you need help in understanding any part of the Expert Treatment Plan, we will address them at no additional cost. However, if you require another consultation with the experts, we can provide that as well. 
Will my insurance cover a second opinion?
This depends on the insurance partner. Many of them cover the cancer second opinion in the policy. 
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