Despite the UK being a nation of "symptom googlers", Brits are more likely to seek a second opinion on financial advice (36%) than on their own health, with only 30% of people questioned in a new nationwide survey saying they would seek a second medical opinion about their diagnosis or treatment. Highlighting the typical British "reserve", the survey found that over a fifth of those asked (21%) said that concern about offending or angering their doctor would stop them from asking for a second opinion.

Have you sought a second opinion?

Have you sought a second opinion?

So, don't just hope for the best, if you have a medical problem that's bothering you or you're worried about recent test results, here are our top 10 reasons why seeking a second opinion is good for your health:

  1. Peace of mind and reassurance; although easier said than done, stressing and obsessing over your symptoms will not help the situation. So, be pragmatic and get additional medical information.
  2. Reduce your risk; interpreting medical images (such as scans or X-rays) is the first place where errors in diagnosing your disease can happen. In fact, research shows that a second opinion can reduce the risk of misdiagnosis by up to 90%.
  3. Widen your treatment options; there are often alternative ways to treat medical problems and it's important that you have a clear idea of all the therapies out there. A second medical opinion will help you weigh up the options so you can make an informed choice about your body.
  4. Overcome your embarrassment; there's no need to be shy or embarrassed about medical problems or your health - doctors have "seen and heard it all"! You should feel comfortable asking your doctor questions about your diagnosis or treatment - they won't make a moral judgement.
  5. Empower yourself! You are entitled to seek a second medical opinion and should feel confident about asking your hospital or doctor for a copy of any examinations or scans (e.g. CT scans or X-rays) in order to get additional advice.
  6. Follow the trend…a number of high profile celebrities have talked publicly about the life changing impact of seeking a second medical opinion. Kylie Minogue has been vocal in urging other women to be vigilant "I have a great respect for the medical profession and the numerous, in fact, countless, people who helped me on my road back to health. I am in the very best of hands now, but it is a fact that my initial diagnosis was that I was, 'Alright, and had nothing to worry about'. A few weeks later this was clearly not the case. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the key for any woman diagnosed with breast cancer".
  7. Everyone could use a second pair of eyes! Within the medical profession it is actually very common for doctors to ask colleagues for a second medical opinion and radiologists commonly "double" read examinations, as well as treatment decisions being made as part of a wider multi-disciplinary team meeting.
  8. Knowledge = patient power; In the UK, patients are usually only informed that images are 'normal' or 'abnormal' - and do not automatically receive copies of images or a written report. This leaves a huge gap in people's understanding of their own disease and handicaps their ability to make informed decisions regarding treatment options.
  9. Avoid unnecessary operations - Second opinion has helped 15% of patients avoid unnecessary treatments. Unfortunately sometimes surgery is the only treatment option, especially in the case of many cancers. However, surgery requires significant time for recovery, time off work and can have a short term impact on your body, so it's worth double-checking if you really need an op.
  10. "It's a no-brainer!" - you wouldn't get a mortgage, a new car or even a new pair of shoes without getting an second opinion from a qualified professional, your family or friends - so why wouldn't you take the same approach with something as precious as your health?

Globally, people want to have a better understanding of their diagnosis and feel empowered to make more informed choices about their health.

Diagnose.me connects patients with some of the world's leading imaging specialists in a range of conditions in the fields of oncology, neurology, cardiology, musculoskeletal, abdominal and paediatric health. Patients can choose from 150 highly specialised experts (radiologists) who provide an online consultation, a detailed report and follow-up communication within 1-4 days from as little as £100. For more information visit www.diagnose.me/en.


tagged in