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Study: Failure to diagnose cancer is not uncommon

In a recent study, researchers discovered that failure to diagnosis cancer is not an uncommon phenomenon.

When patients in Pennsylvania receive a cancer diagnosis, they often have to make difficult decisions regarding their treatment options and are sometimes faced with only a short period of time to live. However, many of those who experience the signs and symptoms that are typically associated with cancer are misdiagnosed.

According to ABC News, researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital recently reviewed tissue samples of patients from all over the country who are suffering from cancer. Upon further analysis, those reviewing these tissue samples found that many of these patients had received a faulty diagnosis. Although mistakes can be made on any type of biopsy, they are especially prevalent on biopsies involving the prostate, skin, female reproductive tract or breast.

There are many different types of cases

There are many different types of cancer misdiagnoses a medical professional can make. For instance, physicians may fail to order a biopsy or further tests to determine what type of cancer their patient is suffering from, incorrectly analyze test results, fail to follow up with a patient after a biopsy was performed or wrongly identify a tumor as benign when it is actually malignant.

Why does misdiagnosis occur?

There are also a variety of different reasons that explain why cancer misdiagnoses can occur. According to the New York Times, these include the following:

  • The doctor does not spend enough time with his or her patient to correctly diagnose the disease
  • The physician uses unreliable detection tools during the diagnosis process
  • The physician making the diagnosis is not qualified to do so

Additionally, medical professionals may misdiagnose one of their patients because they are overly confident in their abilities or unconcerned about the welfare of those they are attending to.

Failure to diagnose leads to severe consequences

Regardless of what causes medical professionals to misdiagnose, failure to diagnose cancer can lead to serious consequences for cancer victims. For example, the New York Times states that a woman underwent surgery to have a benign cyst removed from one of her ovaries. During the surgery, the doctor found a suspicious area on the woman's other ovary.

Without waiting to receive a pathology report on the additional lesion, the surgeon went ahead and cut into it. However, this particular lesion was malignant and by cutting into it, the surgeon allowed cancerous cells into the woman's body.

Like this woman, cancer patients' survival rates are greatly affected by a timely and correct diagnosis. If your physician failed to diagnosis you with cancer or misdiagnosed a tumor as benign, consult with an attorney to find out what your legal rights are.

Keywords: fail, diagnosis, negligence, malpractice

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