What no one tells you about second opinions

Tangerine Rd Freeway exit sign

Beyond skipping a second opinion altogether, what is the biggest mistake cancer patients make when seeking a second opinion?

It’s subtle. It’s NEVER spoken of.
But it’s real.
And it can be deadly.

So what is this terrible second-opinion mistake?

Getting that second opinion from a doctor in the same practice, hospital, city, medical school, or community as the doctor giving the original opinion.

Why is this?

Because your second-opinion doctor might hesitate to disagree with a powerful colleague. Medical communities are rife with politics. Why set yourself up to be victimized by that unpleasant fact?

For your second opinion, go as far away as you can. Geographically.

Like anyone, physicians have to get along at work. Part of most physicians’ work includes serving on a multitude of committees, at local, state, and national levels. This means that two specialists may work separately, but they will likely meet up at the hospital, local medical societies, licensing boards, and specialty associations.

Local hospitals and medical associations are hotbeds of political intrigue. And state medical board committees can heap huge amounts of misery on a doctor’s head.

What if your doctor suggests someone in their practice for your second opinion? Politely decline. Same if they suggest a medical school mentor or another distant associate.


It is likely that your doctor has already discussed your case with his or her practice colleagues, mentors, or distant associates, and that they all agree on the diagnosis and treatment plan. All you’ll get is a rubber stamp on the original opinion when what you want is a fresh set of eyes on your case.

Tangerine Rd Freeway exit sign

Thinking of driving a few miles up the road? That’s better, but keep going. Instead of going to a nearby town for your second opinion, go out of state.

Best, go where no one has ever heard of your local doctor.

Disclaimer: Everything on this site is presented as information only. Nothing on this site is medical advice. Nothing you read here should be used in place of obtaining immediate, qualified, and personal medical attention for any health questions or concerns you may have.

Oregon Integrative Oncology

One patient at a time.

USA: 541-488-6261

Outside USA: 00 1 541-488-6261