7 Healthcast: Cancer questions
When Kathy Madsen was diagnosed with cancer, the prognosis was grim.
"Should I make it through the surgery, then we'll mop up with chemo and radiation," Madsen said.
Spencer Edwards got similar news.
"I was told it was probably not an operable situation," Edwards said.
Newly diagnosed patients like Edwards and Madsen often find themselves drowning in the swift waters of the healthcare system, searching for answers.
And this need is spawning a new trend in cancer diagnostics. But thatís where The Second Opinion Cancer Clinic at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina comes in.
It's a one-stop shop, where a team of specialists explore and discuss each patient's case .
"Treatment plan changes in 20 percent to 25 percent of the time, a totally different diagnosis is unusual but it does happen," Dr. Harold Howe, a cardiothoracic surgeon, at Presbyterian Hospital, said.
It happened for Madsen: the second opinion team determined she didn't have cancer.
"The lab tech came in and said, 'Can you hold up here for just a few seconds? Your oncologist just called, and four pathologists here in Charlotte don't agree that they see cancer on your slides.' I said, 'I will lay here as long as you want!'" Madsen said.
And Edwards found out he could have surgery.
"Right now, as far as I know, there's no more cancer in my body," Edwards said.
While second opinion clinics may not be available to every patient, doctors say every patient should ask for a second opinion.
"It's very difficult sometimes to embark on a pathway of treatment and then stop and say, 'Gosh, I wish we had done this in the beginning,'" Dr. Howe said.
Getting a second opinion can give patients piece of mind they are getting the right treatment the first time.
Many doctors encourage patients to seek a second opinion and are not offended when a patient does. Also, most clinics don't require a referral. So, patients can make an appointment themselves.
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