NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Part 8: Accepting a treatment plan
8.4 Getting a 2nd opinion
The time around a cancer diagnosis is very stressful.
People with cancer often want to get treated as soon as
possible. They want to make their cancer go away before
it spreads farther. While cancer can’t be ignored, there is
time to think about and choose which treatment plan is
best for you.
You may wish to have another doctor review your
test results and the treatment plan your doctor has
recommended. This is called getting a 2nd opinion.
Lung cancer is a serious disease, and new information
may have been published about which treatments are
most effective and safe. You may completely trust your
doctor, but a 2nd opinion on which treatment is right for
you can help.
Copies of the pathology report, a DVD of the imaging
tests, and other test results need to be sent to the doctor
giving the 2nd opinion. Some people feel uneasy asking
for copies from their doctors. However, a 2nd opinion is
a normal part of cancer care. When doctors have cancer,
most will talk with more than one doctor before choosing
their treatment. What’s more, some health plans require
a 2nd opinion. If your health plan doesn’t cover the
cost of a 2nd opinion, you have the choice of paying for
it yourself. Choosing your cancer treatment is a very
important decision. It can affect your length and quality
Caring for caregivers
No one experiences cancer alone. Having cancer
can affect your loved ones, especially those who
provide care. This care can take many forms. It can
range from giving emotional support to giving medical
services in the home. Caregivers often take on extra
duties to keep life normal for the family. They also
play a central role in explaining what is happening to
you to others, like friends and doctors.
It is natural for caregivers to focus on you. Don’t
feel guilty. However, caregivers need to meet their
own needs as well. Cancer treatment can last from
months to years. Caregivers often get too tired from
the physical and mental challenges related to the
cancer. It isn’t easy, but caregivers need to take care
of themselves. If they don’t, they won’t be able to
take good care of anyone.