What if parents want a second opinion?
Cancer in a child usually needs to be dealt with quickly. Once a diagnosis is made and all the needed tests are done, treatment is started right away. Sometimes treatment planning is delayed because the doctors have trouble making an exact diagnosis. In this case, pediatric hematologists and oncologists often consult with their colleagues around the country to help make the diagnosis as quickly as possible.
If parents have doubts about their child’s diagnosis, or questions about the treatment plan, they have the right to get a second opinion. Most doctors understand and are comfortable with such requests, and will often help parents find specialists at another center. They can send tissue from biopsies or other test results that will help the doctors you are consulting. Parents should check with their insurer or managed care provider to see if their health plan will cover a second opinion.
Sometimes, parents have so much trouble believing their child’s diagnosis that they aren’t satisfied even with a second opinion. It’s important for them to remember that long delays may harm their child’s chances to respond well to treatment. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment should be started as soon as possible.
- When a child has cancer, it’s a crisis for the whole family.
- How do parents usually react to a child’s cancer diagnosis?
- Ways to improve coping
- How can parents be sure their child gets the best treatment?
- What if parents want a second opinion?
- How do children with cancer and their siblings react to a cancer diagnosis?
- What helps kids with cancer and their brothers and sisters?
- Keeping up with schoolwork during a child’s illness
- Will the child and family ever return to normal after a cancer diagnosis?
- To learn more
Last Medical Review: September 22, 2014 Last Revised: October 9, 2014