Getting a Second Opinion
If you are concerned about your Pap test result or the recommended treatment, you may want to get a second opinion. Changes in the cervix happen very slowly. Most of the time, it takes many years for precancerous conditions of the cervix to become cancer. Waiting a few months before follow-up care usually does not affect the success of the care you choose. You may want to use this time to:
- Ask your health care provider to have another pathologist review your Pap test result.
- Ask another specialist or gynecologist to review your care plan. (A gynecologic oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancers of the female reproductive system, is someone you might want to see.)
Some women feel uncomfortable asking for a second opinion. They may feel that they are being a bother or that they will offend their health care provider. However, it is very common for women to seek one, and doctors often expect patients to ask for one. A second opinion may help you feel more certain that you have made the best choices about your health.
If you have health insurance, many insurance companies will pay for a second opinion if you ask for one. Some insurance companies may require a second opinion in some cases.
Most of the time, your health care provider will suggest the name of another specialist if you want a second opinion. Or, you may get names of specialists from your local medical society, a nearby hospital or medical school, or your friends or family members.
NCI cancer information specialists (see the Resources Section) can also help you find qualified doctors and programs through cancer centers and other cancer programs.