The Cancer Answer

Malin Dollinger, M.D., F.A.C.P. Medical Oncology

Letter To Referring Physician

Dear Doctor,

      I am pleased to tell you about my oncology practice devoted entirely to second opinions and consultations. My practice is confined to oncology consultations and second opinions, for both new and established patients, on behalf of the attending physician, a health plan/insurance company, or on request of the patients themselves. I will not "take over" the care of anyone. I will review the medical records and materials, interview and examine the patient, and then have a comprehensive discussion with the patient/family/caregivers regarding the specific type of malignancy, the treatment choices and alternatives, and the advantages and disadvantages, as well as priorities, of various actions. A complete report will be sent to the attending physician and/or the health agency, as well as to the patient.

      This practice is entirely consultative in nature, and I will not assume primary care or treatment of any patient. Such care is intended to remain in the hands of the primary physician/healthcare provider. Thus my role is to possibly expand and amplify previous discussions, clarify treatment alternatives, reconcile any areas of uncertainty and concern, and especially support the role of the current treating physician. If appropriate and indicated, I may discuss clinical trials and investigational treatments available at specific centers, or may discuss the role of novel tests or treatments. You can be assured that my opinions and recommendations are entirely objective, related to known and accepted medical facts and guidelines. I hope that you and your patients may thus feel secure in the objectivity and impartiality of these evaluations, since I undertake no treatment myself and thus would have no personal relationship to my treatment recommendations.

      There is a growing need for new (and sometimes established) cancer patients to be able to discuss their disease and the treatment choices and recommendations with someone other than their primary physician or oncologist. Such a second opinion will often reinforce and further validate previous opinions and recommendations. Sometimes new and novel ideas may surface. There may be comfort and reassurance on the part of both the patient and the physician in having a second opinion from a physician who is not, and will not be, directly involved in providing their care. The resulting opinion will thus be objective and free of ``bias.'' It may create comfort and satisfaction in your previous treatment recommendations and decisions.

      Let me emphasize that I support and respect your role in caring for your patient. I look forward to helping your patients maintain satisfaction with your care, and to the opportunity of providing additional discussion and clarification of issues and areas that may not have been extensively discussed in your busy schedule. Please call me if you would like further explanation.

     My plan is to provide a prompt, valid, and compassionate consultative viewpoint regarding your patient's status and treatment choices at a defined moment in time. Of course if you have specific questions I would seek to provide specific answers.

      I look forward to helping your patients maintain satisfaction with their care, and to the opportunity of providing an additional dimension to your comprehensive care program. To refer patients for second opinion consultations, please call 310-378-4059. Please call me personally to discuss any further questions or requests, or to informally explore this pathway.

Sincerely yours,


Malin Dollinger, M.D.

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