According to American Cancer Society, 565,000 people in the U.S. died of cancer in the year 2008 alone. It is estimated that anywhere from 8% to 12 % of these cancer cases were initially misdiagnosed. A cancer misdiagnosis can greatly affect the lives of the patient as well as that of the family. It causes emotional and mental suffering, asi well as the fact that it creates a significant financial strain on all involved. In some instances, the misdiagnosis may have debilitating consequences as result from potentially unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Death or the loss of a substantial chance of survival is another common harm from delayed cancer care.
Every patient has the right to seek a physician’s second opinion. During your examination, never be afraid to ask questions concerning the laboratory and medical procedures. However, once confirmed it is imperative to start treatment immediately.
Cancer misdiagnosis may include:
- Improper identification of a tumor as non-cancerous;
- Improper labeling or handling of a biopsy specimen;
- Failure to routinely check at risk patients;
- Failure to review the medical history of the patient’s family when considering symptoms and making a diagnosis;
- Improper grading of cancer in terms of severity; and
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist.
Regardless, always feel free to seek a 2nd opinion prior to any treatment of cancer. Obviously, this should be done quickly as time is of the essence. If this protocol has been followed you have probably minimized the likelihood of a misdiagnosis. However, if after reading this article you feel there may be a chance that you have been misdiagnosed, you should seek knowledgeable legal counsel to determine your rights.
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