How do I get a second opinion?

You can ask for a second opinion if you want one. It won’t affect your care.

Getting a second opinion means seeing a different doctor, possibly in a different hospital. For example, some people may want a second opinion if they are concerned about the diagnosis or recommended treatment.

You shouldn’t delay treatment while you get a second opinion, as it can take several weeks. You can start treatment while you are going through the process. Keep in mind that the second team’s opinion may not be any different.

A second opinion is free on the NHS, or can be paid for privately. If you wish, your family can ask for one on your behalf. You will need to ask your current hospital doctor 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.

Citizens Advice and Macmillan Cancer Support have more information about getting a second opinion.

''If you don't understand something don't be afraid to say you don't. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I know I needed many questions answering as they would just race through my mind and I wouldn't settle.’’

Updated October 2021

Review date February 2024