MD Anderson’s pathology department provides second opinion consultations. This program may help you choose the most effective treatment.
We have experts in a wide range of cancer subspecialties, including:
- Head and neck
- Bone and soft tissue
The pathology department also operates several diagnostic facilities, including the Fine Needle Aspiration Clinic and specialized laboratories for image analysis, electron microscopy.
Many insurance carriers will reimburse the costs of second opinion consultations. Follow-up reviews are payable separately. Please remember that our service is for pathology second opinions only. We cannot discuss or recommend treatment options.
Gynecologic Second Opinion Consultations
Diagnosing cancers of the female reproductive tract can be challenging, which is why second opinions are so important before treatment begins. Knowing the exact type and stage of a tumor is the only way to choose the most effective therapy for their patients. We provide second opinion services on pathology samples sent to us from pathologists or clinicians outside the MD Anderson system.
If the diagnosis is unclear, our expertise in assessing difficult or unusual cases can help provide an accurate diagnosis. If any questions remain after our initial review, the case will be reviewed by a team of MD Anderson experts before a final diagnosis is made. Our gynecologic pathology team can also help determine if the tumor is localized or has metastasized from another region of the body.
We provide second opinions on the full range of gynecologic cancers:
- Fallopian tube
- Placental tumors
- Some peritoneal cancers
In most cases, we can supply a written report of our findings 48 hours after receiving pathology samples, so you won't lose valuable time choosing the right treatment facility and the most effective therapy.
Obtain a Consultation
Attending physicians may request the necessary materials from the outside hospital or laboratory. Pathologists requesting a second opinion may send the surgical material directly to us.
The minimum charge for a consultation and report on referred slides prepared elsewhere is $272. Any additional testing that is necessary to render a diagnosis will be charged in addition to this fee.
To get started, submit the required information:
- Pathology Consultation Request
- Pathology Test Requisition
- Pathology Consultation – Domestic Patients Billing Information
- Pathology Consultation – International Patients Billing Information
Send the completed form (s), consultation fees, materials to be reviewed and a copy of the surgical pathology report (overnight delivery is preferred) to:
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Outside Slide Consultation
Department of Pathology
1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 0085
Houston, Texas 77030
A written reply will be submitted in every case. To speak with someone in our second opinion pathology group or to inquire about the results of a case sent for consultation, please call 713-792-3112.
Contact the Second Opinion Pathology Team
When I first went to medical school, I thought I’d be a cardiologist. My dad was very sick with heart disease while I was growing up, so I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I saw how the cardiologists treated him and other patients, and I wanted to heal people in the same way.
But once I actually got to medical school, I found that I was more interested in following pathology specimens to the lab to find out what my patients actually had, rather than in caring for them at their bedsides. I also loved the mental challenge of making a diagnosis, especially in very unusual or difficult cases.
Precise treatments based on precise diagnoses
All patients who come to MD Anderson will have their diagnoses confirmed by one of our pathologists. We do this first to make sure that their staging is correct, their tumor size is correct and their margin assessment is correct — because all of these factors can affect which treatment options they’re offered.
About 25% of our patients will see a change in their diagnosis. That means one out of every four times, a second opinion can be a game-changer. That’s why I believe everyone should get a second opinion, whether they’ve been diagnosed with cancer or not.
It doesn’t happen very often that we change someone’s diagnosis from benign to malignant or from malignant to benign, but when we do, it is very significant. Because we offer precise treatments based on precise diagnoses. So, even a slight adjustment can affect, for instance, what treatment options patients are offered first, such as chemotherapy or surgery.
My family’s experience with a misdiagnosis
I know how important it is to get an accurate diagnosis, because my family was directly affected by an inaccurate one. My uncle was incorrectly diagnosed with lung cancer while I was doing my residency training at the National Institutes of Health. I had him send me his pathology slides to review, and I discovered that he didn’t have lung cancer after all.
What my uncle actually had was a very rare type of infectious disease in his lungs. He’d gotten it by inhaling soil particles on farms, as he was a dairy equipment salesman and installer in Wisconsin. We were able to recommend the appropriate treatment and he made a complete recovery. But if my uncle had accepted his first diagnosis, he might have undergone all kinds of unnecessary treatment for something he didn’t even have.
Subspecialists make the difference
MD Anderson is unique because we have subspecialists to treat each disease. That means each pathologist looks at that particular type of tissue all day, every day, and has seen hundreds of thousands of slides during the course of his or her career.
MD Anderson has 12 pathologists dedicated to breast cancer alone. I am one of them. And I love that I get to use my gifts to help our patients. It’s what gets me up in the morning.
I grew up watching Quincy on TV and reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, and I think of what I do as a kind of detective work. I love studying slides and consulting books to make sure my patients are getting the right diagnosis. Because the right diagnosis leads to right treatment and better patient outcomes.
Lavina Middleton, M.D., is a professor in Pathology, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and the Medical Director of Quality Assurance, Surgical Pathology.
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