Cancer is one of the most common diseases, affecting most people worldwide. As a result, most people seek treatment from different medical practitioners for the problem. For this reason, cancer misdiagnosis is one of the most common occurrences in the treatment of the disease. Just like other medical malpractices in the medical profession, cancer misdiagnosis has led to the deaths of many people and, as a result, is a common reality that people diagnosed with the disease have to deal with every day.
But what exactly is cancer misdiagnosis, and what is it leading to? We look at that and much more below.
A cancer misdiagnosis refers to treatment given to treat the wrong symptoms exhibited by an individual with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer as a disease is always morphing, and as a result, a doctor can treat the wrong symptoms by giving the wrong medications and prescription drugs.
The following commonly causes misdiagnosis:
- Failure to diagnose the correct existing medical condition.
- The wrong diagnostic test and prescription of drugs for a patient’s condition do not suffer.
- The doctor failed to diagnose the right medical condition and, as a result, proceeded to treat it, leading to the development of other life-threatening complications.
- Medical negligence is experienced during surgical procedures meant to treat cancer.
- Failure to order appropriate and reliable tests to treat a medical condition.
- Failure to follow the standard timeline or promptly issue the correct cancer diagnosis.
Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis
The following are the common cancer misdiagnoses:
- False positive: This usually happens when the doctor mistakes one disease for another, and errors happen in the laboratory when the tissue samples are issued with the wrong results during testing.
- False negative: This error happens when a patient has cancer but the results show that the patient is in healthy condition. One downside of a false negative is that failure to detect cancer could make cancer grow so that it is detected in advanced stages when it is too late to treat, leading to the patient’s death.
- Failure to identify an underlying condition: The doctor fails to detect tumors and essential aspects of cancer, which could lead to the wrong prescription.
- Failure to diagnose the subtype: Cancers affect different parts of the body. It is, therefore, important to identify the specific type of cancer so that the right treatment can be conducted to treat it. For example, a doctor might detect breast cancer instead of lung cancer and issue medication, a decision that could not only lead to the development of other complications but also death.
The following are the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers in the medical profession.
- Lymphoma: Some common symptoms of this type of cancer include weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, and the enlargement of lymph nodes. For this reason, doctors fail to detect it because it exhibits signs similar to colds and flu, which doctors treat using antibiotics.
- Breast cancers: This type of cancer is sometimes difficult to diagnose because doctors might issue diagnoses based on wrong readings of mammograms, which could be misinterpreted for benign conditions that might lead to other complications when undetected over a long period.
- Colon Cancers: One common way to detect this type of cancer is through a colonoscopy, after which a medical procedure is undertaken to remove the dangerous cancerous tumors. When not done correctly, the colonoscopy procedure might miss the tumors, affecting colon cancer’s early detection and treatment.
- Lung cancer: Some common lung cancer symptoms include asthma-like symptoms, which might be treated with antibiotics and only treat the minor signs exhibited. This type of cancer is dangerous because it is slow-growing, with a survival rate of 73 to 90 percent when detected early but only 10 percent in advanced stages.
- Skin cancers: One of the common reasons why this is easy to misdiagnose is because its initial stages resemble other chronic conditions such as eczema and other skin-related complications that could pass through the eyes of health professionals, especially if they are negligent.
Apart from the mentioned types of cancer, pancreatic and prostate cancer patients are also susceptible to misdiagnosis due to the complex nature of the disease, which might result in death if left untreated. This is especially true when medical experts diagnose cancer wrongly, leading to death or developing other complications.
Cancer patients are commonly diagnosed because sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between benign conditions and cancerous ones, leading to doctors issuing the wrong medication for signs and symptoms.
One of the reasons why cancer misdiagnosis is dangerous is because, in adverse situations, it can cause severe health conditions and even death in some cases. It is, therefore, important to address this medical malpractice before it leads to the loss of many lives in the hands of the wrong medical professionals.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A medical malpractice case is a legal process instituted against a medical professional based on offering the wrong medical advice to treat a condition. Before making a claim, a patient should seek formal legal advice from a malpractice lawyer, especially when the doctor misdiagnoses a condition.
Legally a patient is allowed to seek formal legal advice and file a medical malpractice claim when they realize that they have been misdiagnosed.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Just like any other legal claim filed in a court of law, the burden of proof in medical malpractice claims is that the plaintiff usually has the burden of proof before the court can institute a compensation order to cater for the medical expenses spent during the medical process.
In most legal cases, the plaintiff must prove the following.
- Proof that a doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The doctor failed to conduct the correct medical tests, resulting in the patient’s being misdiagnosed.
- The misdiagnosis caused damage to the plaintiff after the treatment.
- The doctors acted negligently during the treatment process, leading to a misdiagnosis.
Do You Want to Know If You Can Sue for Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Filing a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit should not be a stressful process for you at Frischman and Rizza. We are a personal injury law firm that specializes in helping you deal with medical malpractice during your cancer treatment journey.
Contact us at (412) 291-9377 or visit our offices at 7300 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15208.