08 November 2016

Second opinions don't change prostate cancer patients' decisions

Second opinions were not associated with changes in prostate cancer treatment choice or with improvements in how patients viewed their quality of cancer care.


Second opinions have little impact on prostate cancer patients' treatment decisions, new research suggests.

Seeking the best doctor

The study included nearly 2,400 men in the Philadelphia area recently diagnosed with localised prostate cancer.

Read more: Spot prostate cancer early

Forty percent of the men obtained a second opinion from urologists, most often because they wanted more information about their cancer (51 percent) or wanted to be seen by the best doctor (46 percent).

Overall, obtaining second opinions was not associated with changes in treatment choice or with improvements in how patients viewed their quality of cancer care.

The researchers also found that patients who obtained second opinions because they wanted more information, were seeking the best doctor, or had been encouraged to do so by family or friends were more likely to undergo surgery.

This suggests that for some men, second opinions offer a way to pursue the treatment they already planned on, rather than to explore other treatment options, according to study authors Dr Archana Radhakrishnan, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and her colleagues.

The study was published online in the journal Cancer.

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