“For cancer cases, a Second Medical Opinion can be life-saving”

An overhead, close-up shot of doctors standing in a circle, their outstretched hands overlapping together in the centre

A specialist in paediatric immunology, oncology, haematology and bone marrow transplantation at Wrocław Medical University, Prof. Krzysztof Kałwak heads the paediatric transplant unit, the largest facility for paediatric haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Poland and one of the largest paediatric transplant units in all of Europe. Prof. Kałwak’s research and guidelines have been published widely throughout Poland and abroad and he is the National Coordinator for two paediatric illnesses, chronic myeloid leukaemia and congenital neurotropenia. Prof. Kałwak is a Medical Advisor to Best Doctors.

An Interview with Prof. Krzysztof Kalwak Second Medical Opinions are a natural part of the diagnostic process, with doctors regularly consulting other doctors about their cases. How does having access to international experts improve on this practice? A Second Medical Opinion from abroad can be hugely influential in ensuring that the local treating team arrives at the correct diagnosis, including carrying out testing to confirm or rule out the original diagnosis. It can also provide advice on the most appropriate, most effective and least toxic treatments based on the latest innovations and findings. Why is this especially vital for cancer cases? The longer Read more

Mapping out the right cancer treatment

a map of the world with all continents filled with tiny pictures of people in hospital situations

Advances in treatment and early detection mean that more people than ever before are surviving cancer. However, treatment is becoming more expensive and, according to a recent report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare informatics[i], total global spending on cancer drugs amounted to $100 billion[ii] in 2014, a 10.3% increase in just five years.

The huge growth has been attributed to a number of factors: increase in the cost of treatment increase in the length of time that patients receive therapy increase in overall treatment response rates and survival rates new products on the market, including biologics and targeted agents Targeted cancer therapies ("smart" treatments that identify and attack only cancer cells, as opposed to standard treatments such as chemotherapy, which can also affect healthy cells) now account for almost 50% of total spending and have been growing at an average rate of 14.6% over the past five years. As we head into the future, the pace of this Read more

What do patients really want?

a doctor taking a patient’s blood pressure

We are, more than ever before, a society which goes to great lengths to take care of our bodies. We’re reading more food labels, taking time for the gym, doing yoga and meditation to “connect” with our inner selves…yet when it comes to our own medical treatment decisions, we are surprisingly out of touch.

The body blind spot When we are diagnosed with a medical condition, even a minor one, we are often so concerned with getting better that we develop a treatment blind spot, failing to consider the following: Is the proposed treatment my only option? Why has it been proposed? What are the advantages and disadvantages of all my treatment options? How will the side effects of this treatment affect my quality of life? What implications does my treatment have, beyond recovery? What is the evidence that my treatment has been effective in similar conditions to mine? If I chose to do nothing at all, how would my condition Read more