How Often Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?

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A diagnosis of any kind of cancer is scary. In 2015, nearly 1.7 million people received cancer diagnoses, and it’s expected that in 2016 close to 600,000 will die as a result of cancer. These numbers are astronomical and they make cancer the second leading cause of death in the U.S., behind only heart disease. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, the news was likely devastating. Imagine how much worse it would be if you find out that the diagnosis could have been made sooner, improving the prognosis and perhaps even saving your loved one’s life.

According to studies published by the National Coalition on Health Care, it is estimated that cancer misdiagnoses are made anywhere from 15% to 28% of the time, with lymphomas having the highest incidence of misdiagnoses, followed by breast cancers and sarcomas. That is a huge number of cancer patients who are misdiagnosed, and it is often preventable.

When cancer is misdiagnosed, it means that a patient is given the wrong treatment or no treatment at all. Obviously, either of these can have catastrophic results, and even lead to death.

Cancer misdiagnoses can be the result of a number of different medical mistakes made by doctors. Some cancers are detectable with screening tests. If those tests are performed or read incorrectly by medical personnel or radiologists, evidence of cancer can be missed, causing a delay in diagnosis. There may be a delay in the diagnoses of other types of cancers because tests or scans simply aren’t done until the patient makes repeated trips to the doctor with the same complaint. By then, the cancer may have metastasized and the patient’s life could be threatened. A careful review of medical records may show that there was evidence of cancer in earlier x-rays, scans, or slides. If the cancer was treated then, there may have been a better outcome. These mistakes may be considered cancer misdiagnosis, and patients or their family members may have a lawsuit.

If you find that you are asking yourself if your cancer, or the cancer of a loved one, should have been detected earlier, your first step should be to contact a cancer misdiagnosis attorney. Determining whether or not a diagnosis could have been made in time to make a significant difference in prognosis takes the expertise of both attorneys and doctors. At Ross Feller Casey, we have those experts on staff to make that determination and to help and support you throughout your case.

All cases at Ross Feller Casey are handled on a contingency basis, so there will never be a cost to you unless there is a financial recovery.

Please contact us for a free consultation and review of your case.

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