As the second-leading cause of death, cancer causes considerable suffering for millions of patients and their loved ones. If a doctor mistakenly diagnoses, or fails to diagnose a patient with cancer, the consequences can be life-threatening. Even a delayed diagnosis may be the difference between life and death. Cancer misdiagnosis is far more common than most people suspect with experts at Johns Hopkins estimating that 1 in every 71 cases are incorrectly diagnosed. Additionally, 1 in 5 cancers are misclassified. I have experienced first-hand the potential for tragedy should a doctor misdiagnose cancer. My wife's first physician mistakenly misdiagnosed her Stage IV cancer as non-cancer related. If not pushed by medical workers in our family to seek a second opinion, which resulted in her Stage IV diagnosis and treatment, we can only imagine the devastation if we had waited the 6 months to follow-up, as originally advised.
Types of Misdiagnosis of Cancer
Diagnosing the wrong condition – This occurs when a doctor diagnoses you with one illness or injury when you're actually suffering from a different one.
Missed diagnosis – This occurs when a doctor or another health care provider examines you and determines you are not sick or injured when you actually are.
Delayed diagnosis – A delayed diagnosis occurs when a doctor does diagnose your condition correctly, but delayed diagnosing it, despite the fact that they should have identified your illness or injury sooner.
Failing to recognizing complications – This is when a doctor makes the correct diagnosis of your injury or illness without recognizing underlying factors or other complications that make the illness or injury worse or aggravate it some way.
Failing to recognize a related illness or injury – When a doctor fails to recognize a related illness or injury, a doctor diagnoses one condition without recognizing another illness or injury related to that first condition. In many cases, one illness or injury can cause the onset of another medical condition, or the original illness or injury places the patient at greater risk of contracting a related disease.
Failing to recognize an unrelated illness or injury – Sometimes a patient will have symptoms of more than one illness or injury, but a doctor only diagnoses one condition while ignoring or failing to notice another, unrelated condition.
What Are the Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Doctors can make a wrong diagnosis for a lot of different reasons. Some causes include:
- Failing to listen to a patient's complaints
- Failing to order diagnostic tests to diagnose or rule out cancer
- Failing to refer a patient to an oncologist or another cancer specialist for further testing and treatment
- Mishandling test blood and other test samples
- Misreading or misinterpreting test results
- Missing cancerous cells or lesions during a biopsy
- Misdiagnosis a cancerous tumor as non-cancerous or benign
- Inaccurately grading a cancer diagnosis.
Types of Cancer That Can Be Misdiagnosed:
- Bone cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Colon cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Uterine cancer
DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE!
Misdiagnosis cases are personal for me and I would be honored to advocate on your behalf if you have been the victim of a doctor's negligence, delaying your treatment. If you or a loved one has suffered a cancer misdiagnosis, it is entirely possible that your doctor or physician should have diagnosed it correctly and given you more time to battle this terrible disease. Contact me today at (631) 938-6543 and we can discuss your case, answer your questions, talk about mistakes your doctor may have made, and help determine your next steps.