For patients with brain metastasis or leptomeningeal disease, a second opinion from a medical or neuro-oncologist with specific experience treating breast cancer in the central nervous system (CNS) can be extremely valuable and can help guide treatment decisions. When getting a second opinion, the doctor may order additional tests or scans to confirm your diagnosis and will suggest a treatment plan.
Treatment planning for patients with CNS metastasis can involve multiple specialties that may not be available locally. Second opinion doctors can collaborate and consult with your local oncology team, or they can replace your oncology team if they are a better fit for you. Ideally, specialty cancer programs will work in a collaborative fashion, providing expertise at times of treatment decisions, and staying in close communication with your local oncology team.
Check out our curated list of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers with programs dedicated to the treatment of CNS metastasis.
Another possible way to find a second opinion is to ask your doctor. Second opinions are a normal part of cancer care and your local doctor should not be offended. They may even suggest a second opinion doctor. You can also seek ideas through friends, patients, social networking groups, and advocacy organizations. You can also check out a list of the National Comprehensive Cancer Centers (NCCN) to find a center near you. These large cancer centers routinely provide second opinions and are likely to have expertise in brain metastasis. The American Brain Tumor Association maintains a searchable list of brain cancer treatment centers with expertise treating brain tumors by state.