In general, surgery should not be taken lightly, it requires consideration and deliberation. You would want to explore other options, and weigh pros and cons to ultimately find the best course of action.
Let’s look at surgery for colon cancer and why it is important to get a second opinion from an expert. Undergoing surgery is a serious decision that has major implications. Allow yourself time to be comfortable and confident with your decision. Seeking a second opinion from a specialist may confirm the suggested treatment or offer viable alternatives.
When to ask for a second opinion?
Naturally, after receiving a devastating diagnosis patients ask themselves what options there are. People might feel insecure about the result and the treatment plan. Whenever there is doubt or one needs reassurance, a second opinion from a colorectal surgeon might be a good idea.
Colorectal cancer treatment is personal. Guidelines for treatment of colorectal surgery seem quite straight forward, but the difference lies in the detail. The surgical techniques and approach may differ from doctor to doctor. For example, patients with rectal cancer, where surgery is required close to the anus, might be recommended to close the anus and live with a colostomy bag, severely compromising the quality of live. In some instances, experienced surgeons may be able to surgically retain the anus and its function.
What are some factors to consider before asking for a second opinion?
It is crucial that you receive a second opinion from a specialist doctor, as the treatment success largely depends on the training and experience of the doctor. Bumrungrad International Hospital has a team of doctors experienced in colorectal surgery, including laparoscopic options that offer smaller incision, resulting in faster recovery and less pain. Where required, patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team, including a tumor board that consists of oncologists specializing in various aspects of cancer treatment.
Part of the multidisciplinary team of the Colorectal Surgery Center are nurses specializing in the care for the needs of patients with colon cancer. For example, a specialist nurse advises the particular prosthetic fistula, how to properly use it and how to take care of the prosthesis.
How should I prepare before consulting a doctor for a second opinion?
Collect all related medical reports, including lab and biopsy results, and imaging, such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan, etc. Prepare information about other congenital diseases and treatments you are receiving.
Write down any questions you wish to ask your doctor in advance.
Bring a family member or friend along to help with questions, collect information and assists in decision making. In some cases, your doctor may need to perform additional tests, if the available information is not clear enough or the doctor requires more information.
What should I do if my second opinion differs from the first?
If the opinions of the two doctors differ, try to understand why they come to different conclusions. In particular, explore the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment approach. Take the doctors reasoning, qualifications and experience into account. Ultimately, you decide which doctor you feel more comfortable with and want to treat you.
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