With a medical condition like cancer, the likelihood that a patient will survive such an illness is contingent upon how soon he or she is diagnosed and how quickly he or she begins treatment for it.
Generally, the earlier the diagnosis occurs, the higher the chance there is of doctors fully removing a tumor, something that can keep the disease from coming back again. Cancers detected at a later stage have a higher chance of having spread to other areas in the body and thus, responding poorly to treatment.
While genetic testing has greatly aided doctors in anticipating a patient's cancer diagnosis in recent years, they often still produce inaccurate results. One study published by The Health Foundation in 2014 even showed that one in every 20 Americans had or would experience a diagnostic error at some point in their lives.
Cancers that often go misdiagnosed
There are four primary types of this disease that doctors either misdiagnose or fail to detect altogether. These include lung, colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancers.
Those who are often suffering with lung cancer will experience some of the same symptoms as individuals with respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis or pneumonia. Unless an patient undergoes additional testing right away, then it's likely that the cancel will have spread before it's detected.
Patients with colorectal cancer are often misdiagnosed as having either ulcerative colitis or Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) because they don't thoroughly discuss their symptoms with their doctors.
Those with pancreatic cancer many times are diagnosed as having pancreatitis or gallstones. A patient's symptoms may even be misdiagnosed as IBD or diabetes when something far more serious is going on.
One out of every eight women in this country will ultimately receive an invasive breast cancer diagnosis. Despite this, they're often misdiagnosed as having fibrocystic breast disease, inflammation or noncancerous cysts when the situation is more serious.
What you can do
Whether you've been diagnosed as having cancer or you've been told that you have some other type of condition, you may benefit from getting a second opinion for your own peace of mind.
Oftentimes, patients take their doctor's word that they don't have cancer when they really do. Others end up having surgery even though they really didn't have cancer. In either one of these cases, a Tucson attorney may suggest that you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor.