Simplifying the Second Opinion Process for Local Cancer Patients

Hearing the words, “It’s cancer,” is never something you can truly prepare for. In fact, you might not believe it at first. After the initial shock wears off, you and your family will have many questions for your doctor. One topic you shouldn’t shy away from, especially if your diagnosis is rare or you are left feeling uncertain, is asking for a second opinion.

“Patients have the right to request a second opinion,” says Kenneth Krupp, MD, director of oncology medical operations for ProMedica Physicians and interim medical director for ProMedica Cancer Institute. “We encourage patients to have a conversation with their medical provider and ask questions to determine if they should seek a second opinion.”

Dr. Krupp adds that a second opinion might come directly from a patient who has been doing their own research online. “Whether you found an interesting discovery on WebMD or came across a top-notch cancer treatment center with specific expertise in your particular condition, you should feel empowered to speak up,” says Dr. Krupp. He says a patient’s family is often driving the request for a second opinion. And sometimes, the recommendation comes directly from the doctor or oncologist.

“Several new treatment options have been introduced in recent years, and no [individual hospital or healthcare system] can have them all,” Dr. Krupp says. “There are many different procedures and treatments that aren’t always available locally. That’s when having connections with larger and more advanced health organizations can help.”

ProMedica, Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center and You
In northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, patients at ProMedica Cancer Institute are now well-connected to Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center. The alliance is focused on one thing: The needs of adult cancer patients.

“It is about giving patients the best care that we can possibly deliver, period,” says Dr. Krupp.

What exactly does this mean for area patients? For starters, expanded quality care. Additionally, patients will have access to a multidisciplinary team of highly-specialized cancer experts and caregivers from both Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center and ProMedica.

“We are committed to providing easier access that is simplified and streamlined to achieve the best possible outcomes,” says Ann Kujawa, MSN, RN, OCN, vice president of ProMedica Cancer Institute. “We will collaborate with specialists at Cleveland Clinic to improve access to second opinions and advanced treatment options, including those that may not be available locally. This new alliance creates a wide range of opportunities for all of our cancer patients.”

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Brian Bolwell, MD, institute chair at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center emphasizes the importance of second opinions for our patients.

“Cancer is not one disease, but hundreds,” says Dr. Bolwell. “Our current knowledge of genomics and immunology mean that treatment decisions are more personalized and complicated, so the demand for second opinions is rising.  Our alliance with ProMedica will make it easier for second opinions as both institutions will share treatment planning via tumor boards and care pathways and ProMedica physicians will have an expedited process to facilitate with Cleveland Clinic leaders. This will also foster collaboration and allow us to share best practices.”

Dr. Krupp adds, “As a team, we lay out the problem, and based on evidence-based medicine and best practices, define a treatment plan. Of course, the patient is always involved in these decisions. Having the option to consult with a Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center expert will allow us to explore more options for our patients.”

I Want a Second Opinion, Now What?
ProMedica’s new connection to Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center will help simplify obtaining a second opinion. A patient or physician is encouraged to call the ProMedica Cancer Institute at 877-291-1441 and ask for a second opinion nurse navigator. The navigator understands the stress and fear that come with a cancer diagnosis. Their priority is to gently guide patients and their loved ones through the second opinion process.

In most cases, second opinion consults will occur in Cleveland. However, local patients will be able to receive follow-up care, including surgery, chemotherapy or radiation back in their own community.

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“ProMedica Cancer Institute provides full service cancer care,” says Kujawa. “Along with traditional cancer care, specialty treatments such as Stereotactic Radiosurgery and High Dose Rate Radiotherapy are also available. We also offer a comprehensive array of specialty support programs and services, including our Healing Care Program, the Survivor Program and genetics counseling.”

With services available at eight facilities throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, ProMedica patients have access to state-of-the-art cancer care and support throughout their treatment journey. The Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center alliance helps us live up to our commitment to providing “quality cancer care close to home.”

“I have been practicing for 30 years and want to continue providing quality care for my patients here in Toledo, where I live,” says Dr. Krupp. “We’ve really developed a great program for local patients not only now, but in the future.”

For more information about the alliance between ProMedica Cancer Institute and Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, please visit ProMedica’s website.

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