Tips to manage day to day life during cancer treatment

Everything you need to know about second opinion during cancer treatment

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What is second opinion?

During instances of life threatening diseases such as cancer, patients visit another independent health care physician to discuss the treatment options.  It helps validate the treatment options provided by the first doctor.

Why is it important to get a second opinion before beginning cancer treatment?

Cancer treatment has significant impact on the future of the patient. There are many reasons to opt for a second opinion, the most important being to eliminate the chances of misdiagnosis as much as possible.  Its important to get the second opinion from a completely independent hospital/doctor to get the best output. If there is conflict of treatment options provided by the two doctors, then a third opinion might be needed.

What is Multi Disciplinary approach and why is it important?

This is commonly referred to a tumor board in hospitals.

Cancer treatment contains 3 important aspects surgery, radiation & chemotherapy which are conducted by onco-surgeon, radiation oncologist & medical oncologist respectively.

During the time of diagnosis it is important to get a combined opinion of all the three specialty doctors. This is a case when a team of doctors comprising of all the three specialists as listed above go through the patient case and arrive at a common conclusion on the best treatment option for the patient.

So as you see you would much better off knowing that a team of doctors together arrive at a decision holistically as opposed to getting the treatment option of a single doctor which might be skewed.

Does insurance cover second opinion costs?

Insurance companies in India are embracing the value of second opinion especially for life threatening illnesses such as cancer. Whenever a major treatment proposed for illnesses such as cancer, there is an inherent need to consult another specialist just to be sure. Most insurance companies and understand this need and cover second opinion consultation costs.

Some times second opinion can help avoid unnecessary medical procedures which is a win for the insurance companies as well.

However, it is best to consult your insurance provider to be sure.

What is virtual second opinion, what are the benefits?

Virtual second opinion is a process where in you upload all the necessary information pertaining to the case online and a doctor or  a team of doctors go through the case and propose a treatment option. This is especially beneficial because you can save the hassle of travel and waiting time for the second opinion.

Why do some patients consult doctors from developed countries such as USA or UK for second opinion?

Cancer treatment is a rapidly evolving space with newer treatment option being introduced every year. Most of these medicines or treatment procedures get approved by in USA or UK before they make their way to developed countries like India. So there is likely to be a lag in these treatments being approved and used in India. Also in countries like USA, the doctors have to strictly adhere to the international protocol which is considered the best treatment option given the patient case.

Hence patients opt to take second opinion from renowned hospitals in USA, UK etc.

What are the service providers who provide second opinion services for cancer treatment?

There are few options that provide second opinion for cancer treatment in India.
Usually second opinion services can be divided into the following

  1. An oncologist goes through the reports and proposes the treatment option
  2. A tumor board – Tumor board comprises of a Surgical oncologist, Radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist. This is a much more comprehensive service.
  3. The above 2 services but with doctors from either US or UK.

These are the websites that provide second opinion services online in India. They provide a combination of the services listed above.

  1. Onco.com – They have served over 25000+ patients so far. They provide consultation through their expert panel of doctors both in India and in the USA.  A consultation with a panel of Indian senior oncologists is INR 5000 where as for a panel of senior US doctors the cost is $600.  You could also ask get answers to your specific questions with get free follow up for 25 days.
  2. Oncology India – Oncology India provides second opinion services where in a consultation from an Indian oncologist is INR 1000 where as consultation from a US based oncologist is $500. One point to note here is the consultation is provided by a single oncologist and not a team of oncologists/tumor board.
  3. Samiksha – Samikha provides second opinion services for India based doctors. The cost of second opinion from a individual consultant is INR 2500 where as cost of second opinion from a tumor board is INR 5000.
  4. CanceRx – CanceRx provides second opinion through their panel of oncologists, the cost of getting a second opinion from a specialist is as low as $10.
  5. PathSOS: Its a comprehensive cancer care portal. It has range of services from treatment review to diagnostic review. An online consultation with a specialists cost INR 1000 where as a comprehensive review includes both treatment review and second opinion as well & it cost INR 12,000.

Second opinion service is picking up fast across the country as more patients are becoming aware of its importance. If there are any second opinions that are not included here, please leave a comment below I will review it and update the same.

Raghuveer Surupa

Founder, dignite.in | Raghuveer is an alumnus of IIM Ranchi, who has worked in pharmaceutical industry for over 5 years across various domains. He is passionate about healthcare and founded Dignite with the sole purpose of improving the day to day lives of cancer patients.