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Need 2nd opinion outside VA



Don't know where else to post this.


Had tumor removed at VA hospital.  Got patholoogy report, it said it is non-invasive, non-metastasizing.  From what I can tell from the report it was inconclusive as to it being carcinoma, but they are erring on the side of caution in saying that it is.  This will of course affect what kind of treatment is recommended.


I have asked how to have it sent outside the VA for 2nd opinion.  Patient Advocate Office said to call the pathology department.  Path dept. said no need for that since it had already been reviewed by a second VA pathologist, but any such request would need to be done through the Request for Information office.  They said they have never heard of any such thing. 


So I am getting the run around and am guessing the VA does not want outside review of its pathology determinations.  It is a CLIA lab so is subject to all the laws of any other lab.  

Need to know what the proper procedure is supposed to be.  


Thanks for any help.  


Additional info:  Thanks for responses.  I had researched this before going in to to talk to them; found two studies involving 230 people saying these tumors were only cancer in about 5% of cases.  When I told this to VA nurse practitioner she immediately said " All our cases are cancer".  So I am guessing they are trained to see it even when it's not there, or it may even be policy; although hopefully not to rig a pathology report.   Biggest risk factor is smoking and I never have and they know that.   The tumor is low grade, and if not carcinoma then requires no treatment, as even a consultant for the companies that make the only treatment the VA uses (live bovine tuberculosis bacillus) admits that.  Side effects can be severe and many people refuse further treatment after initial dosing, although you are supposed to get 5-6 dosings over 3 years.  Plus I have a great grandmother's death certificate saying she died of tubercular enteritis which I am going to use to show I may have genetic predisposition to being affected. I may have to send  a trackable letter to the hospital president citing the CLIA law.  I am consulting with private doc today about starting a different therapy to boost the immune system (which is what the bovine therapy is supposed to do) that has no side effects.  

Edited by slangpdx
additional inof (see edit history)
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I'm not exactly sure how you proceed.

I'd be speaking with the patient advocate asap, and see if he can push your request for the second opinion.

If something doesn't feel right about the diagnosis, stick with your gut feeling.

Do not let anyone stand in your way of getting it done.

VHA makes mistakes all the time.

Don't become a statistic.

Edited by 63Charlie (see edit history)
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I feel you should get copies of all of your VA medical records and have an independent oncologist review them.

That might take some cash, but it might be the best investment you could make....because even if it does not reveal improper VA health care, you would have peace of mind.





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Just read this post. Hopefully the veteran is ok. My strong suggestion is ANYTIME you have a potentially serious medical problem, please go outside the VA for a second medical opinion. The life you save may be your own. Second opinions are common in the private field. Yes, you may spend money. It is just smart to get a second opinion.

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