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Can a Doctor Misdiagnose Cancer?

Unfortunately, yes, a doctor may misdiagnose a patient with cancer, and cancer misdiagnoses are not as uncommon as they should be. 2013 research from Best Doctors and the National Coalition on Health Care claimed that cancer misdiagnosis rates were as low as 0%-10%. However, the BMJ Quality and Safety journal claimed that the rate was higher (28%). Johns Hopkins Hospital conducted another study that also found that:

  • One in every 71 cancer cases was diagnosed (in a 6,000-case sample pool).
  • Thousands of patients didn’t even have cancer (as was shown in a review of their tissue samples).
  • One in five cancer patients was misclassified (and had a different type of cancer than they were diagnosed with originally).

Dangers of a Cancer Misdiagnosis

A cancer misdiagnosis can have a profound impact on a person’s health and finances. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important to a patient’s survival rates, and if they have been misdiagnosed, they have not only wasted time but also money on treatments that may not be the best course for their type of cancer.

A misdiagnosis of cancer is a huge blow to a person’s emotional health. Because of their diagnosis, they (alongside their loved ones and caregivers) have had to wrestle with anxiety, distress, depression, and other emotions as cancer and its treatments can be life-changing. Realizing you have been misdiagnosed can have an even more profound impact on your emotional and mental health.

According to a study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, about three-fourths of diagnostic errors that lead to serious harm correlate with vascular events, infections, and cancer. In the study, the researchers reviewed 11,592 misdiagnosis cases that were included in a list of open and closed malpractice cases documented from 2006 to 2015 in the national Comparative Benchmarking System database. The researchers say that: While they recognize misdiagnosis occurs in all areas of medicine, the most serious harm occurs with the misdiagnosis of a small number of conditions (including certain cancers).

Cancers That Are Commonly Misdiagnosed

Misdiagnoses can occur because of the similarity between symptoms of separate conditions may have. However, misdiagnoses can also occur because of negligence, such as laboratory errors, miscommunication between medical professionals, overconfidence, or inadequate time spent with a patient. Commonly misdiagnosed cancers are:

  • Breast cancer.
  • Cervical cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Skin cancers.
  • Uterine cancer.

Can I Sue My Doctor for Cancer Misdiagnosis?

In Connecticut, patients can pursue compensation and take legal action if they have suffered because of mistakes made by their doctor and/or other medical professionals in diagnosing their condition. At Zayas Law Firm, our attorneys are backed by over 45 years of legal experience and are here to help you fight for your right to compensation.

You can be compensated for our economic and non-economic damages, including but not limited to:

  • Past and future medical treatment
  • Medical equipment
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

Once you retain our services, we can help you develop a solid case, collect evidence, and establish the elements of negligence (that must be proven in medical malpractice cases). While you focus on your health and well-being, we can handle the legalities.

To learn more about how we can help you with your medical malpractice claim, contact us online or call (860) 854-9156 today.

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