Getting a Second Opinion, Be The Captain of Your Medical Team

By Tami Boehmer

If I were to give advice to anyone, it would be to always get another opinion. It doesn’t have to be just at your initial diagnosis, but on every step of your journey. Doctors aren’t perfect, and two heads are better than one. Sometimes three is even better. It’s your life, and you’re worth it!

I have great doctors, but they can make mistakes. I listened when my breast surgeon told me the swelling in my armpit was probably nothing. Well she was wrong, and by the time I insisted she see me, it had already progressed to stage IV.

Now that I’ve had that experience, I’m all about getting second, third, and even fourth opinions. I have created a team, consisting of my local oncologist, a consulting out-of-town oncologist and a team of integrative practitioners from the Block Center in Chicago. I’ve seen several other doctors in between. I do research and find resources on my own to bring to them. My life is too precious to not tackle this from all angles.

You know you have a good doctor when he/she does not get upset about your getting a second opinion. Then you know they are more concerned about your well-being than their own ego. I’m lucky that my oncologist is always encouraging about my going to see another doctor.

But if your doctor gets all huffed up about your getting another opinion, it’s my opinion you see someone else. I’ve seen too many people afraid of offending their doctor or putting all their trust in one physician and losing their life over it.

Cancer is complicated; you need a team to make sure you’re getting the absolute standard of care. You really need to think of it as your team; and you’re the captain. You hear of Team Jacob and Team Edward; well this is Team You.

Sometimes your doctors need a little help or nudge when it comes to finding the best treatment for you. A great resource I discovered is a clinical trial matching service offered through LIVESTRONG. After you give them your information, a clinical trial specialist will help match you with appropriate trials throughout the country.

I talk a lot about the people who beat the odds in my upcoming book, From Incurable to Incredible. They were all proactive with their care.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Tami Boehmer is a metastatic breast cancer survivor, speaker, blogger and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. You can visit her at


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