Friday, August 25, 2006

Second, even third--ask!

…Writing in the AARP Bulletin in 2003, Susan Jacoby says people are often reluctant to get a second medical opinion.

…Say the second opinion only changed the course of treatment in 5% of cases, don’t you think that’s worth it?

…Good and honest docs can have different opinions. HA’s goal would be to ask enough people that certain advice began to repeat.

…Yet, only a quarter of seriously ill patients talk to a second doctor.

…Fear or fatigue can be factors. Cost is a worry.

…Many times, people don’t want to offend their doctor.

…At least having your studies and reports reviewed by a big-time cancer place is very important for cancer patients.

…Johns Hopkins took a second look at 6,000 path reports over 21 months and found diagnosis-changing errors in only 1.4%. That soared to 5.1% in cases of cancers of the female reproductive tract. The number even went higher, to 9.5%, for cancers of the membranes that line body cavities.

…Emory University pathologists took a gander at 500 soft tissue samples and found errors in 68 of them. Forty-five percent of those errors were benign tumors that were diagnosed as cancer. Almost a quarter, 23%, were cancers misdiagnosed as harmless.

…If you have been told you have a rare cancer—such as soft tissue, spinal cord, or brain—it is esp important to get a second opinion by a big cancer center.

…No matter how great everyone says your doctor is, one expert said, if you have a little voice saying, “Find out more,” listen to that voice.

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