Putting Cancer Screening in Perspective

Lung Cancer Second Opinions

Getting diagnosed with cancer can be scary, overwhelming, and stressful—especially when your next step involves discussing and learning about your available treatment options. When results from your cancer screening come back positive, getting a second opinion could help you avoid a misdiagnosis, which could lead to delayed or less optimal treatment for your condition.

Here’s more about the importance of second opinions and how to request an appointment with Thoracic Group when you’re ready to discuss minimally invasive treatments for thoracic cancer.

What Is a Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis, also known as a diagnostic error, is when a healthcare provider diagnoses you with the wrong health condition. It is also defined as a delayed or missed diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis can occur when doctors focus on one particular symptom instead of all symptoms or when patients omit certain important information that could help their doctors arrive at the right diagnosis. For example, if you forget to tell your doctor that you recently traveled to Australia or New Zealand, your doctor may not consider African tick bite fever as a possible diagnosis, which is a disease that can affect travelers who hike in those regions.

In the case of lung cancer screening, it is important that all relevant clinical and environmental patient history be considered in conjunction with the screening results.

How Prevalent Is Patient Misdiagnosis?

Patient misdiagnosis is relatively common in the United States, but it can often be avoided with a second opinion in many instances.

According to the VA Office of Research and Development, an estimated 12 million patients are misdiagnosed annually in the United States. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine adds that an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people die from diagnostic errors annually in U.S. hospitals and that misdiagnosis causes the same number of people to become permanently disabled.

Why Is a Second Opinion Important?

There are numerous benefits to getting a second opinion, especially if you are diagnosed with cancer or are suspected to have lung cancer. A second opinion may lead to confirmation of the original diagnosis, which can give you peace of mind if you feel skeptical or unsure about your results. It also helps ensure you receive the right type of treatment promptly, which can prevent delayed or missed treatment in the event of a misdiagnosis.

A second opinion can help you save money on unnecessary treatments and reduce your risk of being subject to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy that produce a wide range of side effects. If your original diagnosis turns out to be accurate, a second opinion could possibly lead you to a doctor who offers safe, minimally invasive treatment options that are associated with a greater number of benefits than open surgery.

What Is the Best and Safest Treatment Option for Thoracic Cancer?

When caught early through screening, lung cancer can often be effectively treated with surgery; however, many thoracic surgeons may recommend open surgery over minimally invasive surgery, especially if they are less experienced doing the latter. If your provider recommends open surgery for thoracic cancer, it is important to get a second opinion to find out whether your cancer could be treated just as effectively with minimally invasive surgery.

Compared with open surgery, minimally invasive surgery for thoracic cancer produces a much shorter hospital stay, less downtime, and a faster recovery. It also produces less post-operative pain and involves smaller incisions, which can help reduce scarring and the risk of infection.  Most patients are home from the hospital withing two days of the procedure.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Bocage at Thoracic Group spent over 30 years performing Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS), which is a minimally invasive treatment for thoracic cancers. During this procedure, a surgeon inserts a thoracoscope into a small incision made in the chest. A thoracoscope is a long, thin tube with a camera attached that produces a high-definition video feed, which the surgeon uses to visualize the chest cavity in order to perform the procedure.  

Dr. Bocage has extensive experience in performing VATS, and he is considered a pioneer of this technique.  He has taught the VATS technique both nationally and internationally. He performs open surgery only in extremely rare instances.

If you are diagnosed with thoracic cancer and are being told that minimally invasive surgery is not an option, contact the Thoracic Group for a second opinion by calling (732) 798-7828 (Somerset) or (732) 410-5769 (Monmouth). We can discuss the many benefits of VATS and all our other treatments.