BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.
Do you go with the safer-but-less-successful treatment, or the riskier-but-maybe-better one? The answer isn't always clear-cut. Despite how it looks on "House" and "Grey's Anatomy," medicine is as much an art as a science.
That's why you need more than one opinion when you're facing a big medical decision (or even a small one that you need some additional reassurance or insight about). In fact, in about a third of cases, a second opinion changes the treatment substantially. Sometimes, a second opinion even can change the diagnosis. Misdiagnoses aren't necessarily the mark of a shoddy health professional; hundreds of diseases have exactly the same symptoms.
That makes it all the more amazing that so few people get second opinions when it comes to their health (but they'll call 10 people to weigh in on whether they should go to Paris or Buenos Aires for vacation). What's stopping you?
You're concerned you'll alienate your current doc. Second opinions are as routine as hand-washing, and if your doc's not on board with it (on board with your getting an opinion; if he or she's not on board with hand-washing, well ... run!), you should be seeing someone else anyway.
You're worried about the money. True, some insurance companies won't pay for second opinions (although most do), but it might save your life or make you feel far more comfortable about what you're about to undergo. Your health is worth a second or a third opinion, in our opinion.
The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz — are authors of "YOU: Being Beautiful — The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty." To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to www.RealAge.com, the docs' online home.