Second Opinions

The world of pediatric neuro-oncology is very small and most doctors know each other from conferences. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion — you’re not betraying anyone and they appreciate the professional collaboration. There is also close work between neurosurgeons and oncologists, so it’s ok to loop in other doctors from other hospitals.  Find your oncology nurse navigator. This is a nurse in your clinic with oncology-specific clinical knowledge that can offer individualized assistance to patients, families, and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers. He or she will gather your child’s records and scans, send them to the other doctor/hospital for you.

Some hospitals submit tumor samples and thereby participate in clinical research; however, some hospitals have sophisticated labs and research grants to conduct research studies on site. Most doctors prefer to go with standard peer-reviewed, traditional treatments. The Dana–Farber Cancer Institute at Boston Children’s has research studies for ground-breaking discoveries. St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital also offers clinical trials, if your child qualifies for the study.