Second opinion is important in testicular cancer
Improved testicular cancer therapy by obtaining a second medical opinion
With testicular cancer, obtaining a second medical opinion can lead to significant improvements in therapy. A recent study by the University Hospital Ulm comes to the conclusion that „Every sixth testicular cancer patient receives more effective treatment if his doctor seeks a second opinion after the diagnosis.“ In many cases, based on the second opinion, the dose of medication can be reduced, so that the affected person is less burdened by the treatment. The scientists hope to be able to use the model in future with other types of cancer.
The research team led by project leader Mark Schrader from the Department of Urology of the Ulm University Hospital reviewed the impact of the project as part of his current study „Second opinion testicular tumor“. Around 15 percent of all new testicular tumors are now being evaluated by another medical doctor as part of this national project. It provides that as soon as the attending physician discovers a malignant tumor in the testicle of his patient, the examination results and the treatment plan are transmitted to experts of the German Testicular Tumor Study Group via an internet-based database. Here's the doctor „An answer to his therapy request within 48 hours“, reports the German Cancer Aid, which acts as promoter of the project. To date, more than 3,000 second opinions have been submitted by the experts.
Improved therapy, less medication
The researchers at the University of Ulm examined almost 1,000 cases of testicular cancer patients, for which a second opinion was obtained between 2006 and 2011. The evaluation showed that „in almost 40 percent of patients differences between the treatment plan of the requestor and second opinion of a testicular tumor expert“ revealed. In the case of every sixth affected person, the original treatment plan was changed on the basis of the second opinion and with every fourth patient the dose of medication could even be reduced, reports the German Cancer Aid. „Fewer medicines mean a lower burden for the person affected and an increase in the quality of life“, emphasized project leader Prof. Schrader. Overall, the study has proven, „How important it is to get a second opinion about testicular cancer.“
Benefits for doctors and patients
The Chief Executive of German Cancer Aid, Gerd Nettekoven, explained that „the advantages of such a project for doctors and patients are obvious.“ Fast turnaround times are guaranteed, the treating physicians would not have to fear losing their patients to other doctors, and the safety of the therapy will be significantly improved. According to Nettekoven, the project has „Second opinion testicular tumor“ Exemplary character also for other cancers. The concept behind it was immediate and effective. First, however, only the testicular cancer patients can benefit from this. Around 4,000 new cases of testicular cancer occur in Germany every year, with the disease mainly affecting younger men. Although testicular tumors are altogether among the rarer cancers, they are the most common malignant tumors in males in the 20- to 35-year-olds. (Fp)
Picture: Tim Reckmann