If A Doctor Only Tells You To Lose Weight, Consider A Second Opinion

If A Doctor Only Tells You To Lose Weight, Consider A Second Opinion
Photo: <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/yo01Z-9HQAw">Hush Naidoo</a>

It’s no secret that doctors sometimes can’t look past body weight when seeing larger patients. If you think your real health problems are being ignored, it’s worth seeking a second opinion.

I’m thinking about this because comedian Jen Curran tweeted yesterday about how she almost missed out on a cancer diagnosis because the first specialist she saw chalked up her problems to her recent pregnancy and her size.

Curran’s obstetrician had noticed something odd in her lab tests during pregnancy, and recommended she see a kidney specialist after the baby was born. So she did, and the specialist seemed to think time and weight loss would take care of the problem.

But she actually had cancer, which she learned after seeking a second opinion with a doctor her obstetrician recommended. Her story illustrates a few things that are important to remember about navigating the health care system:

  • If you have a referral from someone you trust, you may have better results going to that person instead of just finding the most convenient provider.

  • If your doctor doesn’t seem to be listening to you, take that as a red flag. Some doctors can do good work despite a jerk personality, but if they seem to not actually hear what you’re saying, they may be missing information that would help them make the right diagnosis.

  • Listen to your gut. Curran watched other things about her body return to normal, while the protein levels in her urine stayed sky-high. That’s why she ultimately decided to get a second opinion.

Without being a doctor yourself, it’s hard to know when you’re getting good advice and just need reassurance, versus when you’re getting the wrong diagnosis because your condition is a rare or tricky one. Sometimes you’ll get advice that you don’t like to hear, but that you really should follow.

That’s why second opinions can be so valuable. Most often people seek a second opinion after a life-changing diagnosis or before undergoing major surgery, but you can also do what Curran did: seek a second opinion because you think something might be more serious than what your first doctor thought.

Your doctor shouldn’t be offended, and it’s fine to follow up with either or both of them afterwards to discuss your options further.


  • Except weight loss is important for a long list of lifestyle-related diseases, and obesity is linked to a number of cancers. One outlier case is not a wholesale excuse to ignore advice to lose weight – and even with a cancer diagnosis, healthy eating is not contraindicated.

    I hate articles like this because they’re invariably used as an excuse to promote obesity and poor health decisions under the guise of ‘body positivity’ with a tinge of “what do doctors know anyway?”

  • So you’re ignoring the advice of someone whos spent years studying this stuff just because you don’t like being called fat?

    You are Fat.
    Its not healthy
    Its not good for you.
    Its not something that should be praised.

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