Facing a Cancer Diagnosis: Advice From An Expert

Should You Consider a Second Opinion? Advice from a Myeloma Advocate

Should You Consider a Second Opinion? Advice from a Myeloma Advocate from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Jack Aiello, myeloma survivor and advocate, shares his knowledge on the importance and value of a second opinion when diagnosed with myeloma. Download the Find Your Voice Resource Guide here.

Jack Aiello is a multiple myeloma survivor and patient advocate. He is involved with a number of advocacy organizations around the country, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Patient Empowerment Network. More about Jack here

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So, I’m often asked by a patient whether or not they should get a second opinion – and I’m asked in several different ways: One, they love their doctor, they don’t want to change doctors; Two, they believe that their doctor is really knowledgeable in myeloma, and they may very well be. So, what I like to let the patient know is that second opinions can be extremely valuable for a couple of reasons: One by going to a doctor who really specializes in myeloma, you might hear that that doctor agrees exactly with how your own oncologist is treating you.

And, to me, that makes me feel good. Secondly, that second-opinion doctor becomes part of your medical team; they will work with your local oncologist and offer suggestions. And I think you have the best of both worlds. You can continue to go to your oncologist and get treated, but you have that myeloma expert on your side as well. And I know that sometimes patients are worried, “Well, will it offend my local oncologist who I really like and I don’t want to hurt their feelings?” Any doctor worth their salt will really encourage you to get second opinions. They want to deal with educated patients.

If, for some reason, your doctor decided, “No, you don’t need a second opinion, it’s not worth it,” I honestly would consider changing doctors. Because I think there is so much new happening with myeloma that it’s impossible that the general oncologist or even general hematologist to keep abreast of all of the new information out there for myeloma, and I think that that second opinion would be a – offer the patient a great advantage.