Cancer patients see many doctors during the course of their treatment, but rarely do they meet the specialist who plays the most critical role in their outcome: the pathologist who diagnoses their cancer by analyzing samples of blood, tissue and body fluid. Precise diagnosis is what drives all subsequent decisions about treatment options and other patient choices.
The role of a pathologist in evaluation and diagnosis of Barrett’s metaplasia and possible progression to esophageal cancer cannot be overemphasized. All major medical societies recommend an expert gastrointestinal pathologist review all biopsies showing high-grade dysplasia.
Never before have pathologists been so critically important. Recent scientific developments have led to an explosion of information about markers and genomic analysis that helps to identify specific cancer types and pinpoint which one will be more aggressive or more likely to respond to a particular treatment than another type. One such example is the benefit of trastuzumab in cancers with high expression of HER2 Neu, an evaluation that requires highly-specialized pathologists with extensive experience.
Cancer treatments are becoming more and more targeted, so an accurate and comprehensive analysis by a pathologist is critical in determining the best approach. Learn how to read your pathology report.
Game-Changer: Roswell Park pathologists reported that 10 percent of patients received a change in diagnosis after coming to RPCI from another care facility.
Even if all you need is a second opinion from Roswell Park, we’re here for you! A second opinion is the best way to reassure you that your initial diagnosis of esophageal cancer is accurate and the recommended treatment strategy is right for you! Over a century, our specialists have successfully worked with community doctors, and are happy to discuss and share information, as needed.
It’s always a good idea, but especially important if:
If you’re still not sure whether to ask for a second opinion, ask yourself:
Am I confident in the diagnosis or treatment options I’ve been given? Am I comfortable with my treating physician? Has my physician clearly explained all treatment options — not just the ones he or she prefers? Are there clinical research studies offering new treatments for my cancer? Was my cancer diagnosed at an office or community hospital setting or in a comprehensive cancer center? Does my insurance plan require a second opinion? If not, what type of coverage does it provide for second opinions?
To arrange for a second opinion, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or fill out the online Become a Patient Form.