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What Makes a High-Quality Second Opinion?

Much has been written about why and when patients should seek a second opinion. But what makes a high-quality second opinion? The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the only NCI designated comprehensive cancer center in the state, believes the answer is found in a center that:
  • Is a large academic medical center
  • Is a NCI-comprehensive cancer center
  • Practices evidenced-based oncology
  • Offers multidisciplinary clinics and tumor boards
  • Participates in IRB-approved clinical trials

Large Academic Medical Center 

The UW Carbone Cancer Center is a large academic medical center which trains physicians, conducts laboratory and clinical research and delivers health care services at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and other affiliated clinics. More than 30,000 patients are seen annually for diagnosis, therapy, follow-up care or consultations at UW Hospital and Clinics, as well as affiliated clinical locations.


The Carbone Cancer Center unites more than 280 physicians and scientists who work together in translating discoveries from research laboratories into new treatments that benefit cancer patients. The main objective is to give the patient a range of treatment options and determine what the best therapy is for that particular patient.

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center 

The Carbone Cancer Center is proud to be the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and was established as one of the first six university-based comprehensive cancer centers in 1973. The Carbone Cancer Center is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States.

Evidence-Based Oncology 

Carbone Cancer Center oncologists practice evidence-based medicine. Decisions for each patient are based on careful consideration and judgment of peer-reviewed research practices in cancer care.

Multidisciplinary Clinics and Tumor Boards

Patients at the Carbone Cancer Center receive state-of-the-art care in surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers. Surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and support staff are each actively involved in patient evaluation and treatment. UWCCC faculty are nationally recognized for their disease specific expertise and research.

To ensure that all treatment options are explored, patient cases are often discussed at multidisciplinary tumor boards. When a patient’s case is presented, specialists review and discuss a patient’s history, films and lab results. From that discussion, an individualized treatment plan based on the most recent research findings is developed. With so many experts working together for every patient, cancer care is truly a team effort. 

The Carbone Cancer Center has multidisciplinary clinics for 13 specific cancers.

IRB-Approved Clinical Trials

Carbone Cancer Center's greatest strength is its 30 plus years of experience in groundbreaking clinical trials and research studies conducted to answer specific scientific questions about new ways to prevent, diagnose, detect and treat cancer.

More than 250 clinical studies are available for patient enrollment at the Carbone Cancer Center. Some of our clinical trials are also conducted at community hospitals and regional cancer centers affiliated with Carbone Cancer Center. 

All clinical trials are approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) which reviews and monitors research involving patients. The IRB has one paramount responsibility: To protect the rights and welfare of human research participants. The IRB’s goal is to find the right balance between protecting patients and helping physicians carry out research in a manner consistent with long-standing ethical principles and federal, state and university regulations.