Cancer diagnosis: Now what?

October 17, 2019

A diagnosis is scary. With so many unknowns, we completely understand why you’d worry about this disease. But you are not alone. This year in the U.S., more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer.1

Many of these patients are uncertain about their treatment plans. While mainstays like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery often deliver solid results, new technologies—like immunotherapy—have made their way onto the cancer fighting scene. The options can be complicated.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your cancer is diagnosed and classified correctly. If you want to make certain your physician has gotten it right—and considered all of your treatment options—our world-renowned expert medical opinion service can help.

“Using Best Doctors provides confidence to patients and their families that the recommended treatment plans are endorsed by specialists,” says Dr. Robert Z. Orlowski, Best Doctors expert and oncologist. “We often engage experts from several different specialties whose input is crucial for complex, challenging cases.”

When first diagnoses are wrong

It’s hard to believe, but up to 28% of cancers are misdiagnosed worldwide, and the number jumps to 44% with some types of cancer.2 In the U.S., it’s expected that there will be more than 900,000 new cases of cancer each year moving forward, so these misdiagnoses will continue to affect many of us.3

A survey of 400 U.S. cancer specialists found that the most misdiagnosed cancer conditions are lymphoma, breast cancer, sarcomas, and melanoma,2 but misdiagnoses can happen with other cancers and separate conditions altogether. Johns Hopkins researchers found that up to one out of five cancer cases was misclassified,4 which can seriously impact treatment decisions and outcomes.

How you can get it right

The Best Doctors expert medical opinion service will review your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan to confirm that it’s correct, or recommend a change. With a network of over 50,000 of the world’s top physicians in over 450 specialties and subspecialties (including oncology), our experts can give you confidence and clarity during an uncertain time. Their suggestion may help you avoid unnecessary treatment, surgeries, side effects, or costs.

“[Best Doctors] consultants often represent fields for which there is no local expertise in the area, which helps patients avoid the cost and inconvenience of traveling,” Dr. Orlowski adds.

Here’s how it works: If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, contact us to request a case review. We’ll collect all of your medical records and one of our experts will review your entire diagnosis and treatment plan. We consider every possible cancer treatment, every clinical trial, and every option for your condition.

Next, we create a detailed report of our findings and send you our recommendations so you can share them with your physician or specialist. It’s entirely up to you if you’d like to follow our expert advice or continue on with treatment as planned.

Of our members who used Best Doctors Expert Medical Opinion, 79% of them had their treatment modified, and 45% of members had their diagnosis changed. As our experts review your labs, imaging, and blood tests, and consider the latest research and clinical insights available on your condition, you, too, may decide to try a different treatment path. Here’s one member who’s grateful she did.

Who we are helping

We’ve been able to help many members with back and joint pain, chronic disorders, and other diseases. But in recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness month, let’s talk about one type (of many) cancer cases we’ve weighed in on. About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer.5

After Barbara was diagnosed with an early stage 1A breast cancer, she had the pea-sized tumor surgically removed. The cancer did not spread to her lymph nodes, but her physicians recommended both radiation and chemotherapy, as well as hormone therapy.

“I felt the chemo was extreme due to the size and stage of the cancer,” Barbara says. With access through her employer to Best Doctors, she asked for an expert medical review. The specialist reviewed all of her information carefully, and agreed with the radiation—but not the chemo recommendation. Barbara decided not to go through with chemo, or the hormone therapy, because of the side effects. Best Doctors gave her the peace of mind she needed to find her ideal treatment path.

Barbara is now being monitored regularly, and is grateful for the experts who reviewed her case. “The nurses who responded were fantastic, and so was the doctor who interviewed me—everyone seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say,” she says.

With a complex disease like cancer, it never hurts to seek another informed medical opinion. Best Doctors can answer any questions about your condition or help you find a local specialist.

Cancer continues to impact millions of lives, and, sadly, is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S.6 Why not be sure you’ve gotten the right diagnosis and the right treatment? There’s nothing more valuable than your health—and the assurance that you’ve gotten the right diagnosis and treatment.

References

1https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2019.html
2https://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/commonly-misdiagnosed-conditions/#cancer
3https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/research/articles/cancer_2020.htm
4https://abcnews.go.com/amp/WNT/story?id=131047&page=1
5https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics
6https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

This portion of the Teladoc website occasionally offers health, fitness, and nutritional information and is provided for educational purposes only. You cannot rely on any information provided here as a substitute for or replacement of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Teladoc cannot assure that the information contained on this site always includes the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular subject matter covered.

If you ever have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your healthcare professional, or 911, immediately.