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Why Should I Get a Second Opinion for My Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on August 11, 2023

Mesothelioma is a serious illness that requires a trained eye to diagnose. It is a rare type of cancer caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with any form of mesothelioma, it is in your best interests to get a second opinion from another medical provider – especially a doctor who specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses. A second opinion can leave no room for errors and give you more information about your illness.

Mesothelioma Is Difficult to Diagnose

One of the main reasons to get a second opinion for a mesothelioma diagnosis is that this is a difficult condition to detect. It has a relatively rare occurrence; about 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, compared to over 281,000 new cases of breast cancer, for example. It also takes decades after asbestos exposure to develop mesothelioma, meaning that most patients don’t know that they inhaled or ingested asbestos.

The symptoms of mesothelioma can also mimic other conditions, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This can increase the chances of a doctor failing to diagnose mesothelioma and mistakenly diagnosing a different condition – delaying the medical care that you desperately need. Whether you were diagnosed with mesothelioma and want to confirm the diagnosis or you believe that you have mesothelioma but were diagnosed with something else, obtaining a second opinion can help.

Medical Malpractice Is Common

Another reason to get a second opinion is to decrease the chances of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice means that a physician did or did not do something that a prudent and reasonable doctor would have in the same position. Medical malpractice occurs much more often than most patients realize. According to a study from 2017, medical mistakes account for as many as 251,000 deaths in the U.S. each year – positioning it as the third leading cause of death. One of the most common types of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis.

A careless physician may misdiagnose mesothelioma from a mistake such as overlooking the patient’s medical history, failing to request the proper medical tests, misinterpreting test results and ignoring the need for a specialist. If you seek a second opinion, you can greatly reduce the risk of medical malpractice and a mesothelioma misdiagnosis.

A Second Opinion Can Have Many Benefits

Seeking a second medical opinion can have many important benefits for you as a patient. Although malignant mesothelioma is a terminal type of cancer, many different things can impact your prognosis and survival rate. For example, detecting mesothelioma early and getting surgery can increase a patient’s life span by months or even years. This is why it is important to ensure an accurate and prompt mesothelioma diagnosis.

Obtaining a second opinion can come with benefits such as:

  • Eliminating the possibility of a misdiagnosis
  • Speaking to a renowned mesothelioma specialist
  • Understanding the nuances and complexities of your diagnosis
  • Working with multiple specialists and multidisciplinary teams
  • Feeling confident in your treatment plan
  • Improving your overall prognosis and survival outcome

Get a second opinion from a physician who specializes in mesothelioma. A mesothelioma doctor will have unique knowledge, experience and medical tools in this practice area to give you as much information as possible about your diagnosis. A mesothelioma specialist will also have the latest mesothelioma treatment options to optimize your prognosis and survival rate as a mesothelioma patient.

Tips for Getting a Second Opinion

Prepare for your second medical opinion by talking to your first doctor about your diagnosis, requesting copies of test results and imaging scans, checking your health insurance plan for coverage before you go, and bringing a list of questions about your medical condition to the second doctor. Although researching your diagnosis online can give you more information about mesothelioma as a whole, keep in mind that each case is unique. The only way to understand your diagnosis and prognosis is by speaking to one or more physicians.

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