Diagnosed With Breast Cancer? Get a Second Opinion

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When it comes to the potential benefits of seeking a second opinion for a breast cancer diagnosis, results of a study conducted at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston are clear. A comprehensive review by a multidisciplinary tumor board at the cancer center changed the diagnosis for 43 percent of patients who got a second opinion.

For this retrospective study, researchers analyzed radiology, pathology, and genetic testing reports for 70 breast cancer patients diagnosed at an outside institution who received a second opinion at MUSC Health from August 2015 to March 2016. They then compared the reports from outside institutions to those produced after the tumor board review and subsequent workup of each patient.

These second opinions led to an additional 30 biopsies performed on 25 of the patients, which identified new cancers in 16 (22.8 percent) of the study participants — either in the same breast, the other breast, or an axillary lymph node. In addition, the pathology review changed in 20 percent of study participants, and 16 percent met National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for genetic testing but had not been referred for the tests.

Sourced from: Annals of Surgical Oncology