how do I go about getting a second opinion?

Has anyone had gone for a second opinon and if so, how do you do it? I have just had the most frustrating consultation with an oncologist who would not commit himself to whether I should have radiotherapy or not and told me to go away and think about it? This is so unfair, I know we have to make an informed choice, but I need more information to do so.

Any advice gratefully received


Hi Cathy

My mum was diagnosed 13 day ago, and we were not entirely happy with the treatments etc. discussed with the oncologist. We also found her attitude to be a little lacking on the “bedside manner” department. My Father took my mum to see her GP today, patients charter in hand (which I am happy to say he did not need) and my mother is now being referred to the Royal Marsden in London for a second opinion.

I do hope this helps.

Jules xx

Hi Cathy,
Like you I had an unsatisfactory consultation with my first onc who patronised me like a small child and did not deal with the information I needed.
I contacted my GP and asked for a second opinion (we are entitled to do this.) I also asked where this second opinion would come from and was given a choice of 2 or 3 hospitals. He dealt with the correspondance with onc who didn’t have a problem with my request. I think more and more oncs are getting used to more informed patients.
As a result I have a new onc and new treatment centre which so far is working out better for me.
Hope this helps.

Slightly different in that my onc referred me to Marsden for second opinion. The reason I’m mentioning it is he appointment came through within 4 days, very impressive.

Good Luck,

Jackie xx

That has cheered me up Mabel! My mum has been referred to the Marsden today for a second opinion, so hopefully she will be as lucky!

Much love.

Jules x

I hope so too Jules!

My referral was in November 07 to Dr Johnson’s clinic at the London Mrsden.
He has me on 3 monthly checks now, as well as my local onc keeping an eye on me.
I can’t praise him highly enough.

Jackie xx

Hi Jackie

What did you do to get your consultation at the Marsden? Clearly, this is one of the best hospitals for cancer in the world, so any tips on getting there would be great!


You go to your GP, preferably with the name of a particular consultant, and ask him/her to refer you to this consultant.

Check here for more information:

Cathy, my mum went to her GP today and told her that she wanted to be referred to the Marsden instead. The gp wrote the referral out today and told he she will get an appointment in the next week.

Jackie, I am so glad I read this tonight, you have made me feel very positive.

Thank you so much Phoebe for your link and to all of you for your advice. Jackie, you see a Dr Johnson - do I just ask to be referred to him?


Hi ladies,

My own onc actually referred me to Dr Johnson.
I have IBC, a rare and aggressive BC. After completeing standard treatments I got a local recurrence within 3 months, (not unusual with IBC), and shortly after developed skin mets to my mast scar line. My onc was quite frustrated and had wanted to refer me for some specialist localised rad treatment, which he had heard of several years ago, and which had proven successful. However, he could find nowhere that still offered the treatment in this country!
I rang his sec re the possibilty of a referral to the Marsden, and had to leave a message as she was not there. Four days later I received a phone call from the Marsden saying they had received the referral and asking me to come in the following week!
Dr Johnson seems to be the head honcho! He did explain he has a special interest in IBC, but I know he treats many ladies on this site and another I belong to, for all types of BC. He is extremely knowledgable and seemed to know my own onc personally, but I guess they all know each other from seminars etc!

You can certainly ask for a referral to Dr Johnson Cathy, that’s not a problem.

(Sorry this is such a waffle, thought it important to give a little background !)

Best of luck Cathy and Jules (Mum). Please let me know how you get on.
Thinking of you
Jackie xx