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Recommended Second Opinions

By Mr Neil Pearce, Consultant Surgeon

Everyone is entitled to ask for a second opinion.  Personally I give around 200 second opinions each year and I would not discourage anyone from looking for one, but there are some points to bear in mind:

  • Sometimes if you have a clear treatment plan a second opinion may delay treatment starting.
  • If you don’t understand what you have been told by your local specialist it may be quicker and easier to speak to your CNS (nurse specialist) and request another consultation with your consultant rather than going to another centre.
  • If for some reason you just don’t get on with your specialist locally then if you tell your CNS, they can usually get your care transferred to another consultant locally which again may be quicker and easier than going further afield.

There are some situations where a second opinion is particularly helpful:

  • If you have been told that your disease is untreatable or the only options are very high risk.
  • If there is a treatment that is only available at another centre (sometimes this may be part of a trial of a new drug or technique).
  • If there are two or three treatment options and the decision as to which one to use is finely balanced.

What can a second opinion give you?

  • An expert opinion
  • A clearer understanding of the options
  • Confirmation of your diagnosis and prognosis
  • An alternative perspective on your disease or the available treatments
  • A different treatment option

There are many, many specialists in pancreas, liver, biliary and NET cancers across the UK.  The names suggested below do not form an exclusive or comprehensive list and there are many excellent specialists that give very good care who are not named here, these are just some suggestions of specialists who are expert in their field, or offer a different perspective, or access to novel treatments and in general they are also good communicators.

In order for a second opinion to give a good opinion they will need a referral letter and details of your treatments, investigations, general health and they will need to see your scans. Sometimes they will be able to respond to you and answer your questions in writing, but you may still prefer to see them in person and if they are going to offer you treatment then they obviously must see you to assess you.

The final caution is that occasionally people take so many second opinions and get so many differing treatments suggested that they don’t know what to do. In this case you should talk again with your CNS and maybe go with the team that will be able to give you the most support.

“Good luck”

Neil Pearce

  • Giuseppe Kito Fusai – Consultant Liver and Pancreatic Surgeon (The Royal Free Hospital, London)
  • Brian Davidson – Consultant HPB & Liver Transplant Surgeon (The Royal Free Hospital, London)
  • John Neoptolemos – Professor of Surgery (Royal Liverpool University Hospital)
  • Jeremy French – Consultant Hepato-biliary and Transplant Surgeon  (The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals)
  • David Cunningham – Consultant Medical Oncologist and Head of the Gastrointestinal Unit  (The Royal Marsden, London)
  • David Tuveson – Professor of Pancreatic Cancer Medicine (Cambridge Pancreatic Cancer Centre)
  • Martyn Caplin – Consultant in Gastroenterology and Hepatology (The Royal Free, London)
  • Ashley Grossman – Consultant Endocrine Physician (St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London)
  • John Ramage – Clinical Lead for Gastroenterology (Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital)
  • Richard Ellis – Consultant Gastroenterologist (Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth)
  • Tamas Hickish – Consultant Oncologist (Royal Bournemouth Hospital)
  • Mike Bayne – Clinical Oncologist (Poole General Hospital)
  • Caroline Archer – Clinical Oncologist (Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth)
  • Juan Valle – Consultant/Honorary Professor of Medical Oncology (The Christie, Manchester)
  • Val Lewington – Consultant Nuclear Medicine Physician (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Derek Manas – Consultant Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgeon (The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals)
  • Myrrdin Rees – specialist in surgery for colorectal secondaries (Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital)
  • Simon Bramhall – Liver and Transplant (Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham)
  • Nigel Heaton –  Liver and Transplant (Kings College Hospital, London)
  • Peter Lodge – Hepatobiliary Surgeon (St James’s University Hospital, Leeds)


  • Brian Davidson – Consultant HPB & Liver Transplant Surgeon (The Royal Free Hospital, London)
  • Peter Lodge – Hepatobiliary Surgeon (St James’s University Hospital, Leeds)


  • Dr Amen Sibtain – Consultant in Clinical Oncology (London Oncology Clinic)

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