If you get a cancer diagnosis and can afford it, you should get a review by a specialist in your cancer. If you don’t, you could miss new, less invasive life-saving options, or pursue an ineffective treatment. Traditionally, getting a review by an expert has meant traveling to an academic cancer research center, which may be difficult. But today, there is another option: online services that provide the best global advice without needing to travel.
Who are the best providers of online advisory services you might want to use to get advice on your cancer treatment options?
The Big Picture: I have identified over 50 providers of online services for advice on your best treatment options. They serve different customers (payers and employers, researchers, providers, and consumers) and offer different scopes of services, from providing diagnostic tests (sequencing) and for many diseases vs. being focused on cancer.
Zooming in on Cancer Advisory Services Offered Directly to Consumers: I have identified 7 companies that you can approach directly to get advice on your cancer treatment options if you already have or want to get your diagnostic tests separately. (Please see the table below.) The main considerations you will likely have are cost and value (the relevance and accuracy of the recommendations, the surrounding level of human service, and whether there is an ongoing relationship or a one-time transaction). While online advice sounds good, you may be in awe of your physician and not feel comfortable or equipped to ask questions or share in the decision-making about your care. These services offer different levels of support and can work with your professional healthcare team.
- Are there any online cancer advisory services (“second opinions”, “virtual tumor board”) that I have missed?
- Have I mis-positioned any of the companies?
- Are there stories you can share of people who didn’t get online advice and bad things happened, or got online advice and good things happened?
- Have you had or heard of good or bad experiences with these services?