How often does the second opinion contradict the first one enough to alter the course of treatment?
There have been multiple studies done that come close to answering your question -- many of them at JHU. A couple of important conclusions from these studies are:
1. In about
20% of the cases, the expert review caused a change in Gleason score when compared to the non-expert review.
2. In 1.3% of the situations, the non-expert review classified the sample as malignant (cancerous) when the expert review reversed this and classified the tissue sample as benign.
This is fairly compelling as to why it's worthwhile to get an expert opinion rather than relying on a pathologist that does not specialize in prostate samples.
Forum Moderator-Prostate Cancer. Age 62 (69 now), G 3 + 4 = 7, T1C, PSA 4.2, 2/16 cancerous, 27cc. Brachytherapy 12/9/08. 73 Iodine-125 seeds. Everything continues to function normally. PSA: 6 mo: 1.4, 1 yr: 1.0, 2 yr: .8, 3 yr: .5, 4/5 yr: .2, 6 yr: .1, 7 yr: .1. My docs are "delighted"! My journey: