Harvard Men's Health Watch

Is it always important to get a second medical opinion?

Ask the doctor

Q. How important is a second opinion when dealing with a serious diagnosis? Will my doctor get upset if I ask for one?

A. Second opinions can offer valuable information and should always be considered after a diagnosis of serious illness or a recommendation for surgery. These decisions can have major consequences on your future health.

Your doctor should not be offended if you want a second opinion. In fact, many physicians routinely provide this kind of advice, especially in the world of surgery and cancer treatment. Ask your doctor for a list of potential names or medical centers for the second opinion. Also, make sure you have all the available information prior to your consultation. It is best to visit a different medical center to get a truly independent diagnosis. If you get conflicting information, you may need a third opinion.

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