#LCSM Chat Topic 6/29: When Doctors Disagree


Increasingly, the care of lung cancer patients has become a multi-doctor, multi-disciplinary job.  Gone are the days (thankfully!) when a paternalistic doctor prescribed a treatment plan that was unquestioned by the patient.  The internet and ease of travel have allowed unprecedented access to information and to physicians.  As more treatment options and strategies become available for lung cancer patients, it is inevitable that they will be faced with differing opinions from their physicians with regard to how to personalize their care.  Examples are plentiful, such as decisions between surgery or radiation therapy for early stage lung cancer, recommendations for chemotherapy or immunotherapy for advanced cancer, or even decisions whether to treat some patients at all.  While lung cancer patients and their doctors would like to think that such important decisions should always be guided by obvious evidence based medicine, the reality is that clinical trials cannot address every individual patient scenario or keep up with the pace of medicine today.  And without doubt, many physicians have their own biases towards different treatment strategies.  How then, should a patient deal with differing opinions?  Are there warning flags?  Are there important questions to ask when this situation arises?

With that in mind, we will cover the following topics and questions:

T1:  What are common scenarios in which you have seen lung cancer doctors disagree?

T2:  When getting a 2nd opinion, should the new Dr. be given the opinion of the first before developing his/her own treatment plan?

T3:  What questions should you ask a doctor who disagrees with another doctor about your treatment?

T4:  What resources can patients use to share in their own decision making if different treatment options exist?

Please join the #LCSM community and moderator @BrendonStilesMD for our next #LCSM Chat on Thursday, June 29th, at 8 pm Eastern Time (5 pm Pacific).  Although #LCSM Chat focuses on lung cancer, this scenario arises across all fields of medicine.  As such, we would love to have other patients, advocacy groups, and physicians participate.  Please join us! If you’re new to tweet chats, read a primer on participating in the chat here.

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