For patients and families

A second opinion can refine treatment approaches in up to two thirds of cancer patients.

For patients with a diagnosis of cancer, getting a second opinion is increasingly becoming part of the routine medical management process. In the US, approximately 50% of patients diagnosed with cancer seek a second opinion. Studies show that a second opinion changes or further refines the diagnosis in up to 15% of cases and can provide additional treatment approaches in up to two thirds of cases.

When diagnosis and treatment approaches are confirmed, patients and their families get valuable peace of mind. This reassurance has shown to reinforce patient commitment and involvement in her/his medical care.

International second opinions

In Europe, around 10 million people live with a cancer diagnosis. Treatment approaches differ - find the one that fits you best.

Medicine is not black and white any more. With the advances of treatment and genetic testing, cancer care is becoming more complex and personalized. This means that one approach does not fit all patients. Approaches can differ from institution to institution and among countries. Telemedicine improves access to medical knowledge and its use has grown rapidly with COVID-19. If you or someone you care about faces a life changing diagnosis, exploring different treatment approaches will guide you to find the right treatment.

You can include your family and your physician in the process

Renowned specialists from Harvard-affiliated cancer centers

Take action, ask questions, get answers

Independent and unbiased

The importance of teamwork

Excellent healthcare necessitates a team approach.

Medicine is increasingly subspecialized. Excellent cancer care necessitates a team approach including oncologists, surgeons, geneticists, radiotherapists, radiologists, pathologists and others who work together to provide the best possible management based on the tumor traits and patient’s medical and genetic characteristics. We partner with you and your treating physician to provide you with access to the international experts you need for your specific condition.

Why is it important to get a second opinion, what our patients say

Berta M.

Madrid, Spain

Being diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer was a life-changing event. I was lucky to have a fantastic oncologist who walked me through the decision making process.

The world collapses on you with the diagnosis. A thousand questions are raised: about what happens to you, about the treatment, the side effects, what happens with those you love and those who depend on you? And all this happens at great speed and you do not have time to absorb it all. You go home and ask yourself “What did they tell me?”. It’s really hard to process all the information and cope with all the feelings. My treating oncologist suggested getting support from a Dana Farber Cancer Center gastrointestinal oncologist. I truly believe that this was one of the most valuable choices I made throughout the process; my oncologist and the oncologist at DFCI came up with a plan and agreed on the timing of chemotherapy, the inclusion of new immunotherapy and even timing of surgery for my liver metastases. Seeing them work as a team made me feel assured I was receiving personalized, cutting-edge treatment.

Maria S.

Barcelona, Spain

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42. I sought an opinion regarding duration of the hormonal treatment at Harvard's Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

I underwent the initial treatment including resection of the tumor with radiotherapy and hormonal blockade. Continuing the hormonal blockade could have significant side effects, namely an induced menopause including the possibility of body changes with weight increase, mood changes, loss of energy, libido decrease, etc. Because it was such an important decision I sought a second opinion at Harvard's Dana Farber Cancer Institute and could share my case with one of the world’s top leaders in breast cancer. His advice, after taking into account my tumor stage, the tumor markers and my age and health status, was that there was no clear evidence of an increased benefit of long hormonal blockade. We discussed this thoroughly with my oncologist back home and decided not to continue with the hormonal blockade. This allowed me to avoid the side effects. I am now 7 years since the diagnosis and I am cured of the breast cancer. I could not be happier that I asked for a second opinion.

Nicole B.

Vienna, Austria

My friend was undergoing cancer treatment and her outlook was devastating. Her doctors told her that she would not live to see her daughter enter primary school. I had heard about the option to get a second opinion from a Harvard-affiliated Cancer Center and suggested she consulted them to be sure that all available options had been taken in consideration. It felt reassuring for her to have this second opinion in the form of a written report from this world-renowned cancer expert. Having this gave her and her family peace of mind that they knew all the possible options and that the next steps she had aligned with her local doctors were the right ones.