On September 2, 1980, the Foundation started offering free multidisciplinary second opinions to cancer patients. The service grew over the ensuing 14 years until the demand far exceeded the possibility of obtaining sufficient physicians to properly provide it. The panels ceased in 1995 in favor of private institutions offering to have all physicians who could possibly treat a specific patient present to discuss a newly diagnosed cancer patient’s options within the first three weeks of diagnosis.
Cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases. There are treatments for every type of cancer. It is vital to treat cancer promptly, properly and thoroughly because often there is no second chance. The important factor is for the patient to be able to make an informed, correct decision about how best to be treated for their own particular problem.
Most cancers are treatable by several different modalities separately and often best treated in combination. By talking to one physician only, the patient may receive or interpret a biased opinion. Most physicians favor their own modality because they are most familiar with it, they have faith in what they do personally or they want credit for treating the patient. Possibly another modality actually has better potential for that particular patient in the hands of the proper specialist.
Our goal was and still is to get major medical institutions in every city to offer this multidisciplinary second opinion.
Our end goal is to see that every newly diagnosed cancer patient must, by law or rule of professional practice, receive a qualified second opinion prior to any treatment or no treatment. We believe that this could save more lives today with the information we currently have than anything else – including eliminating tobacco.