Second opinions from urologists for prostate cancer: Who gets them, why, and their link to treatment

Archana Radhakrishnan, David Grande, Nandita Mitra, Justin Bekelman, Christian Stillson, Craig Evan Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cancer patients are encouraged to obtain second opinions before starting treatment. Little is known about men with localized prostate cancer who seek second opinions, the reasons why, and the association with treatment and quality of care. METHODS: We surveyed men who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer in the greater Philadelphia area from 2012 to 2014. Men were asked if they obtained a second opinion from a urologist, and the reasons why. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate the relationship between second opinions and definitive prostate cancer treatment and perceived quality of care. RESULTS: A total of 2386 men responded to the survey (adjusted response rate, 51.1%). After applying exclusion criteria, the final analytic cohort included 2365 respondents. Of these, 40% obtained second opinions, most commonly because they wanted more information about their cancer (50.8%) and wanted to be seen by the best doctor (46.3%). Overall, obtaining second opinions was not associated with definitive treatment or perceived quality of cancer care. Men who sought second opinions because they were dissatisfied with their initial urologist were less likely to receive definitive treatment (odds ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.32-0.73), and men who wanted more information about treatment were less likely to report excellent quality of cancer care (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.99) compared with men who did not receive a second opinion. CONCLUSIONS: Although a large proportion of men with localized prostate cancer obtained a second opinion, the reasons for doing so were not associated with treatment choice or perceived quality of cancer care. Future study is needed to determine when second opinions contribute to increasing the value of cancer care. Cancer 2017;123:1027–34.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1034
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017


  • prostate cancer
  • quality of health care
  • second opinion
  • specialists
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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