If you’ve been diagnosed with rectal cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before choosing where you’ll be treated. Getting a second opinion allows you to feel more confident that you’ve made the best possible choice. While you can benefit from a second opinion at any point during your care, it is most valuable when you are first diagnosed and have the widest array of treatment options.
How a Second Opinion Can Help
When seeking a second opinion, you want access to rectal cancer experts who understand this disease in greater depth than the general oncologists in your local community. A second opinion will help you:
- Feel confident that your cancer has been correctly diagnosed and that the stage of your tumor has been accurately assessed. Pathologists, radiologists, and gastroenterologists from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) are experts in diagnosing rectal cancers and have access to the latest technologies to help ensure we know as much about your cancer as possible.
- Consider state-of-the-art options. Getting a second opinion about your diagnosis may result in identifying better, more advanced, or aggressive options for treatment, including sphincter-sparing surgeries, clinical studies of new chemotherapies, and advanced radiation technologies, such as proton therapy.
- Understand the benefits of specialized, multidisciplinary care. The team of rectal cancer specialists from SCCA can offer in-depth understanding of various treatment options. Our team members have first-hand knowledge of current research, and perhaps most importantly they offer a wealth of experience in treating rectal cancer.
- Start with a course of therapy that’s tailored for you. We focus on you, not just your cancer, when developing a treatment plan. This means we consider your goals, plans, beliefs, values, and preferences in order to design your treatment holistically.
- Understand whether genetics played a role in the development of your cancer and whether it might impact your treatment. At SCCA, all patients who come to our Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic undergo genetic testing and microsatellite instability testing of their tumor, which can indicate that there’s a problem with DNA repair leading to tumors. This information may mean that a patient needs further testing for a hereditary condition called Lynch syndrome. Depending on the findings from your tests, you and your family members may benefit from SCCA’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program.
SCCA—the only National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest—is home to the region’s only Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic, where our medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and supportive care professionals come together weekly to discuss and care for people with rectal cancer as a collaborative team. This means that during a single visit you get the second opinion of not one doctor but an entire group of experts representing several specialties.
Schedule a Second Opinion
We recognize that rectal cancer is serious. Getting a second opinion does not have to delay the start of your treatment. We aim to see you within one week. People with non-metastatic cancer are seen in our Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic at the main SCCA clinic on Lake Union. People with metastatic cancer are seen by one of our medical oncologists at the main SCCA clinic, EvergreenHealth, or UW Medicine’s Northwest Hospital & Medical Center.
To schedule a second opinion with an SCCA doctor, call (855) 557-0555.