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Getting a Second Opinion

By

Michael R. Wasserman

, MD, Los Angeles Jewish Home

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
Click here for the Professional Version

Despite many similarities in training, doctors may vary in their opinions about how to diagnose or treat certain disorders. Such differences can occur among the best of doctors. Differences often occur because the evidence for the best approach is not clear. For example, opinions can differ about whether or when to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) Diagnosis The risk of prostate cancer increases as men age. Symptoms, such as difficulty urinating, a need to urinate frequently and urgently, and blood in the urine, usually occur only after the cancer... read more Diagnosis to check for prostate cancer in men who have no symptoms. Differences in recommendations may also be based on how familiar a doctor is with a test or treatment, how willing a doctor is to use the latest tests and treatments, and how available these tests and treatments are in the community.

For these reasons, getting a second opinion from a different doctor can give a person additional insight and more information about what to do. If the second opinion is the same, it can reassure the person and reduce anxiety. If it differs, options can be weighed, and the result is a more informed choice about what to do. Also, a person can get a third opinion, particularly if the second opinion is different from the first.

How to Get a Second Opinion

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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Controlling Health Care Costs
About one-third of health care costs accrue from care provided during the last year of life. One cost-control strategy is to encourage people to make their wishes known regarding end-of-life care. Which of the following is the term used for the instructions a person writes to make the person’s preferences for end-of-life care known?
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