An important diagnostic tool during your cancer journey is biopsy that is generally undertaken by a pathologist. Biopsies are an important means to evaluate cells in different types of tissues. Biopsies are a valuable aspect of cancer treatment especially in cases of cancer metastasis. Biopsies are also invaluable tools to determine changes in the genetic composition to ascertain the right treatment options and make accurate predictions about the chances of recovery. In most cases of breast cancer, pathologists can successfully detect estrogen and progesterone receptors using biopsies. Such insights can lead to targeted therapies.
There are certain important aspects of biopsies you must know to understand the decisions of your physicians:
Furthermore, biopsies are excellent starting points for second opinions. A pathologist may generally share the tentative diagnosis with peers. Joint decision-making is especially useful for cancer cases that may be difficult to diagnose or treat, and is a standard practice to confirm a diagnosis. Another important approach in tumor diagnosis is the participation of pathologists in tumor board review, which helps in planning cancer treatment through the involvement of a team of doctors belonging to multiple specialties. A cross-disciplinary team helps to obtain an accurate and detailed diagnosis.
Could a Second Opinion on Biopsy Possibly Save Lives?
According to Varn (2014), difficulties in the interpretation of results of biopsies can be resolved through a medical second opinion. Such an approach has the potential to uncover a number of diagnosis and treatment options. Research evidence indicates that the number of biopsies performed annually in the United States increased from 1,380 to 1,945 between 1997 and 2008. The number was ascertained for every 100,000 Medicare patients, which calculates to a 3% growth rate every year. This study indicates that the error rate could be problematic and affects patient outcomes (Kwan et al., 2010). Furthermore, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital indicated that 1.4% of the patients from a population of 6000 cancer patients across the United States received an updated diagnosis after a second opinion. An interesting aspect of this revised diagnosis was that it classified 23% of the patients as benign who were originally diagnosed as malignant (Sirota, 2000).
Therefore, results of research studies indicate that a second opinion proves beneficial in obtaining an accurate diagnosis and raising the chances of survival. Biopsies have other advantages too as they could help identify infectious and autoimmune conditions.
Research Perspectives on Second Opinion for Biopsy Brimo and colleagues (2010) identified that a second opinion in pathology was reflected in the actual therapy administered to patients. They analyzed cases related to prostate needle biopsy prior to radical prostatectomy for a year to compare pathological parameters. In doing so, they included a range of diagnosis including malignant and benign cancer. On measuring parameters using the Gleason score, core highest cancer percent, positive core number, and other assessments, researchers concluded that “mandatory second opinion on prostate needle biopsy results” had positive effects on cancer therapy.
Educating Patients on Cancer Biopsy A patient needs to be educated on the minimally invasive nature of biopsy to improve overall patient outcomes. Relevant information that may be be shared encompasses:
The Role of KareOptions in your Cancer Journey
KareOptions is a market leader in providing personalized services to patients. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after a biopsy, then a second opinion may be a prudent way to move towards an optimal treatment plan. To explore our Medical Second Opinion Service (MSOS) and Second Opinion Board Review (SOBR), please visit www.kareoptions.com
Kwan, S.W., Bhargavan, M., Kerlan, R.K. and Sunshine, J.H. (2010). Effect of Advanced Imaging Technology on How Biopsies Are Done and Who Does Them. Radiology, 256(3), pp.751–758.
Sirota, R.L. (2000). Mandatory second opinion surgical pathology at a large referral hospital. Cancer, 89(1), pp.225–226.
Varn, M. (2014). Medical Second Opinions on Biopsy Results. [online] PinnacleCare. Available at: https://www.pinnaclecare.com/highlights/blog/second-opinions-biopsy-results-save-lives/.