Over 100 of the top institutions treating cancer patients in the US are now offering Multidisciplinary Second Opinions (MD2O). This is great news for newly diagnosed cancer patients.
From the seed of a single Cancer Management Center started in September 1980 in Kansas City to give second opinions, this incredible life-saving service has developed. It has been a long, hard road. The difficulty of convincing physicians as to the value of second opinions is nothing compared to convincing patients. To many physicians, it is an unnecessary interruption in their daily work habits and patient relations, a question of their ability or judgment, damaging to their ego or just plain inconvenient. But the good physicians are well aware of the seriousness of a diagnosis and the necessity of prompt, proper thorough treatment the first time. They are well aware that they are human and could make a mistake or that someone else might know something they do not know or see something that they do not see. Good physicians have always accepted a second opinion and now all physicians respect the value of second opinions.
But convincing patients to help them self is another story. The average newly diagnosed cancer patient is totally unaware of an MD2O, let alone where to get them. They are afraid of hurting their doctor’s feelings. They are too frightened. They stay in the security of their present medical environment and fulfill their physician’s negative prognosis. The critical factor in properly treating any kind of cancer is that the patient make an informed decision. The only way for this to be done is for the patient to be honestly told everything that could effect their condition directly from the person most knowledgeable in that field. A surgeon should not elaborate on the effects of radiation and a radiation oncologist should not describe the problems with drug treatments. Each physician must honestly tell all the statistics and side effects of the therapy they are personally most familiar with. Then, and only then, can the patient make an informed decision.
It is finally starting to come together. From that initial start 18 years ago, we now have over 100 institutions rendering hundreds of MD2O’s each month. Each second opinion offers an improved quality of life for every patient and family member by removing the uncertainty and doubts and a possibility of extended life by suggestions for improved treatments. For the institution giving them, they demonstrate that institution’s openness to the most advanced cancer treatments, the furtherance of their physicians training by attending these conferences, and their superior services to cancer patients by increased number of patients and experience, as well as helping their revenues.
Our current goal is to get 1500 institutions in the US to offer MD2O’s so there is one convenient to every cancer patient, wherever they live. Our long term goal is to require every cancer patient to receive an MD2O prior to any treatment or prior to no treatment. This will, in our opinion, reduce cancer mortality by more than any other single factor, including eliminating
If you hear of someone being diagnosed with cancer, be certain to have them get a MD2O. The current list of institutions offering MD2O’s can be found here: multidisciplinary-second-opinion-centers