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How do I get a second opinion?

If you want to get a second opinion about your pancreatic cancer diagnosis or treatment from a different doctor, you can ask for one. This means seeing a different hospital consultant, possibly in a different hospital. For example, sometimes people may be concerned about the diagnosis or recommended treatment and may want a second opinion.

A second opinion is free on the NHS or can be paid for privately. Asking for a second opinion won’t affect your care. But it can take time, so it is a good idea to start any treatment offered while going through the process, rather than delaying treatment.

Think about what getting a second opinion might mean before asking for one. For example, if the two consultants agree it may make you feel more confident. But if a different treatment is offered you might worry about which treatment to choose.

"You don't have to accept the first information on diagnosis and treatment as the only possibility. Don't be left thinking, 'I wish I'd asked that'."

You will need to ask your consultant or GP for a referral for a second opinion. You don’t have a legal right to a second opinion, but doctors usually won’t refuse. If you agree, a family member can request a second opinion on your behalf.

NHS ChoicesCitizens Advice and NHS Direct Wales have more information about getting a second opinion. If you live in England, the My Cancer Treatment website lists cancer services and the quality of care you can expect. 

Published June 2017

To be reviewed June 2019

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