Pathology Second Opinions: Why, When and Who?
Why?: The most important step in the management of any disease, including cancer, is to ensure that the diagnosis is correct. Everything that follows, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, depends on the accuracy of the original diagnosis given by the pathologist who examined your tissue under a microscope. You may have never talked to your pathologist. Perhaps, your surgeon just told you that the pathology report is "not good," "positive" or that ” cancer was detected."
The reality is that mistakes can be made in the diagnosis of cancer. In a number of scientific articles published in medical papers, it was found that pathology reports were incorrect for two-to-nine percent of the cases for which a diagnosis of cancer was positive. In one third of these cases, there was a major error that significantly affected the patient's treatment and prognosis.
When?: There are many situations when you may want to request a second opinion concerning your diagnosis (please contact your physician to request a second opinion):
- When major surgery is planned based on a pathology diagnosis;
- When you have any doubt about your diagnosis;
- When you have been given no hope;
- If you have a rare cancer or disease;
- If you have cancer with an unknown primary site;
- If your doctor wants you to be in his/her clinical trial; and/or
- If you have a lesion of undetermined significance.
- Who?: Your second opinion should be given by a pathologist who sub-specializes in your type of diagnosis, lesion or tumor. The pathologist should have vast experience with similar cases and should not have any professional or private association with the pathologist or institution that rendered the original diagnosis.
For more information, call UF Health Pathology Laboratories toll-free at 888.375.LABS (5227).