Seeking a Second Opinion

As patients and caregivers are becoming more informed about renal cell carcinoma, many chose to seek a referral to a specialist for a second opinion, either by having their own urologist or oncologist consult with a specialist on their behalf, or by travelling themselves to see a recognized expert in kidney cancer.

In Canada, patients must be referred to a specialist by a doctor. The referring doctor is usually the local oncologist or urologist, but may also be the patient’s family doctor (General Practitioner). Please note that specialists cannot respond to patients individually without this referral.

The specialist will require specific information from your referring doctor including:

  • Imaging results such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI or other imaging tests
  • Lab results such as blood or urine tests
  • Pathology report
  • Surgery or procedure reports (if done)

These results ensure that you will obtain specific and meaningful information particular to your individual case.

  • Seeking a second opinion is your right as a patient.
  • See an expert who sees many cases of kidney cancer each year.  Kidney cancer is a rare disease, so you might have to travel into a major cancer centre to find a doctor who has experience in treating kidney cancer.
  • The benefits of getting a second opinion from a specialist in kidney cancer includes more knowledge and experience, understanding of new treatment options, reassurance and peace of mind that you are making the right treatment decisions (which may improve your chances for successful treatment).  You may also be able to take part in a clinical trial that the centre or specialist is participating in.  Often the specialist will talk with your local urologist or oncologist when it is time for your care to resume again locally.

Many patients feel uncomfortable asking their doctor (urologist or oncologist) about getting a second opinion.  Some are afraid of hurting their doctor’s feelings and damaging the doctor-patient relationship. Your doctor should not be offended if you ask for a second opinion.  It is actually common to be asked for a second opinion in difficult diseases. However, in some cases if you feel particularly uncomfortable, you can also ask your family doctor to make the referral on your behalf.   If you need more information on how to proceed, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@KidneyCancerCanada.ca


Vancouver Cancer Centre Vancouver
Vancouver Prostate Centre Vancouver
Tom Baker Cancer Centre Calgary
Alberta Urology Institute Edmonton
Cross Cancer Institute Edmonton
CancerCare Manitoba Winnipeg
Juravinski Cancer Centre Hamilton
Kingston General Hospital Kingston
London Health Sciences Centre London
Fidani Cancer Centre Mississauga
Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre Ottawa
Odette Cancer Centre Toronto
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Toronto
Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne Longueuil
Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal Montreal
Jewish General Hospital Montreal
Montreal General Hospital (MUHC) Montreal
Hôpital Notre-Dame (CHUM) Montreal
Hôpital Saint-Luc (CHUM) Montreal
Hôtel-Dieu de Québec (CHUQ) Québec
The Moncton Hospital Moncton
QEII Health Sciences Centre Halifax
Health Sciences Centre St. John’s

*Note:  If you need help finding a kidney cancer expert, contact us at info@KidneyCancerCanada.ca


International Kidney Cancer Coalition.  Kidney Cancer Therapies.

National Cancer Institute.  What You Need to Know About Kidney Cancer.

Cancer.Net.  American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  Seeking a Second Opinion.

Updated October 31, 2016

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