Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Dealing With Diagnosis

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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 required tests are done, treatment is started right away. Sometimes treatment planning is delayed because the doctors are having 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 covers extra testing and consultation.

Sometimes, parents have so much trouble believing their child’s diagnosis that they are not 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.


Last Medical Review: 06/29/2012
Last Revised: 06/29/2012