Why Is a Second Opinion for a Mesothelioma Diagnosis Important?

A second opinion with a mesothelioma specialist is important because malignant mesothelioma is so rare that most doctors and oncologists haven’t seen a case of mesothelioma and may fail to recognize it. This form of cancer can be difficult to diagnose and stage accurately. 

Mesothelioma symptoms are similar to many other diseases affecting the lungs, heart and abdominal organs making misdiagnosis common. The only way to get an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis is with a tissue biopsy. If you were given a diagnosis of mesothelioma without a biopsy or were diagnosed with another disease but suspect mesothelioma, consider seeking a second opinion from a specialist.

Getting an accurate diagnosis can be very challenging when it comes to mesothelioma. Since it’s so rare it’s hard to find doctors with experience diagnosing it. When patients with a history of asbestos exposure contact us with a pleural effusion or a lung cancer diagnosis, we encourage them to get a second opinion.

Asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. This rare cancer mostly affects the pleura and peritoneum, the thin layers of tissue that cover the lungs and line the abdomen. Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure who experiences signs or symptoms of mesothelioma should seek a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist.

How Do I Get a Mesothelioma Second Opinion?

Request a referral from your doctor to see a mesothelioma specialist and get a second opinion. You can also ask people you know for recommendations of specialists they trust. Contacting your health insurance provider can also help you find in-network mesothelioma doctors.

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has a team of Patient Advocates with experience connecting mesothelioma patients with specialists in their area. Patient Advocates can also help patients and their families obtain assistance coping with mesothelioma.

Working With a Patient Advocate to Get a Second Opinion

The Medical Outreach Team at The Mesothelioma Center has streamlined the process of obtaining a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist. Our relationships and partnerships with Centers of Excellence and doctors who have extensive knowledge of mesothelioma means we can help you with registration, record transfers and scheduling the initial consultation appointment. 

After gathering information about your interests, our team can suggest experts based on the type of diagnosis, your insurance and preferred location. Rather than offering one-size-fits-all suggestions, Patient Advocates can offer high-level suggestions based on each patient’s unique needs.

People We Help Get Second Opinions
  1. Individuals who disagree with their initial diagnosis
  2. Patients whose first opinion wasn’t with a mesothelioma specialist who want an expert’s opinion
  3. People who disagree with the advice they were given
  4. Those looking to confirm treatment offered is what a mesothelioma specialist would recommend for them
  5. Patients seeking a clinical trial

“Patients often ask us what they can expect when getting a second opinion,” Medical Outreach Director Missy Miller adds. “If your pathology report, for example, doesn’t indicate mesothelioma, but you suspect that’s your correct diagnosis, a mesothelioma specialist can have the tissue from your biopsy sent to another pathology lab for further evaluation. Experts have labs they work with that understand the markers to look for to identify mesothelioma and your cell type.”  

We can also arrange second opinions about treatment options to improve your prognosis. The specialists we recommend are heavily vetted and will confer with experts in a variety of mesothelioma treatment approaches to develop a multidisciplinary treatment plan.

Mesothelioma Second Opinions Before Surgery

Getting a second opinion before undergoing surgery or starting other treatments is important to help you weigh the best options for your individual needs and preferences. Thoroughly discuss your options with your mesothelioma specialist to decide on what’s right for you and your family.

When patients reach out to us for help with getting a second opinion, it’s often to find a mesothelioma specialist to discuss treatment. Sometimes patients’ medical teams inform them that they’re not familiar with mesothelioma. Patients want to learn about all of the options open to them.

During a second opinion with a mesothelioma specialist, you can discuss recommendations for the latest, most effective treatments. You may be able to enroll in a clinical trial testing new treatments. Seeking an expert second opinion can help give you peace of mind that you’ve explored all of your best options.

Cost of a Mesothelioma Second Opinion

The cost of getting a second opinion can be high. Mesothelioma statistics make the benefits clear, however. A 2021 study showed that a pathology second opinion changed the diagnosis in 14% of cases. Another recent small study found that a second opinion led to a new diagnosis in 43% of patients.

Second Opinion Costs
  • Second opinion costs can range from $200 to $1,500 or more.
  • Costs can include in-person or remote consultation with a specialist.
  • Testing biopsy samples for your pathology report also adds to overall costs.

The cost of cancer treatment can be very high. Up to 62% of cancer survivors go into debt paying for cancer treatments. Annual out-of-pocket costs can be as high as $15,000 for a single cancer drug. You want to ensure that you’re getting the most effective treatment for your specific circumstances.

Who Pays for a Mesothelioma Second Opinion?

Some health insurance plans cover the cost of a second opinion. Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-approved amount, including laboratory tests. With some insurance plans, however, you may be responsible for some or all of the cost of getting a second opinion. 

The Patient Advocates at The Mesothelioma Center work to help mesothelioma patients and their families address issues of financial need. They can help people find health insurance coverage, assist with financial planning and offer other resources for families.