Data released by The Health Foundation suggests that at least one in every 20 American adults will be affected by a diagnostic error during their lifetime. Another study, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, suggests that every American will be faced with dealing with a single misdiagnosis during the course of his or her life.
Of all the different medical conditions that can be misdiagnosed, cancer can prove fatal if not caught early.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that cancer, as a whole, goes undiagnosed in 28 percent of all cases. There are some cancers, though, that are misdiagnosed as much as 44 percent.
Researchers know about these cases of misdiagnosis from autopsies performed on patients. In analyzing the decedent’s medical records, researchers have found far too often either the wrong sample was analyzed or it was misread.
Another reason it’s argued misdiagnoses happen is because incomplete patient medical histories are taken or inadequate time is spent with patients addressing their concerns.
In other cases, patient details weren’t exchanged between doctors when transferring care. Patients weren’t forthcoming in disclosing their family medical history or downplayed their symptoms as well.
Among the top four cancers that go either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, there are breast, lung, colorectal and pancreatic types.
Colon cancer is often inappropriately diagnosed as inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids or ulcerative colitis. Sometimes mistaken for inflammatory bowel syndrome, those afflicted with pancreatic cancer are often misdiagnosed as having either pancreatitis, gallstones or diabetes.
Cysts found during mammograms are often misdiagnosed by pathologists as being non-cancerous when they’re not. In other cases, women are diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease or inflammation when they really have cancer.
Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are often mistaken for respiratory infections such as tuberculosis or pneumonia instead of lung cancer. This is perhaps one of the reasons that lung cancer has often spread to nearby organs by the time it’s even caught.
If you were forced to suffer because of a delayed, inaccurate or missed diagnosis, then a Chicago medical malpractice attorney can advise you of legal remedies that can be pursued in your case.
Source: New Hope Medical Center, “Most commonly misdiagnosed cancers,” accessed Jan. 11, 2018