The dangers of misdiagnosed cancer

Regarding any illness, early detection is important. However, early detection of cancer is crucial to prevent it from getting worse or spreading to other areas of the body.

Unfortunately, medical doctors misdiagnose cancer regularly. Certain cancers have misdiagnoses more than others, and this can be deadly for the patient.

Commonly misdiagnosed cancers

According to the National Law Review, the five cancers that healthcare professionals commonly miss include:

  • Lymphoma – the symptoms are similar to less severe illnesses
  • Colon – misdiagnosis is usually due to not performing a colonoscopy
  • Breast – there are delayed diagnoses as well as overdiagnosis, which leads to drastic and unnecessary treatments
  • Skin – the early stages mimic eczema and other skin conditions, and there are numerous pathologist errors with biopsies
  • Lung – this cancer grows slowly and is hard to detect, especially in the early stages

How to deal with a misdiagnosis

The survival rate for most cancers is much higher if found in the early stages rather than the late ones. The biggest consequence of most misdiagnoses is that the patient does not begin treatment early on.

According to WebMD, getting a second opinion is critical if someone suspects there has been a misdiagnosis. Getting a second opinion is also a good idea even if someone believes and trusts the doctor. A second opinion is highly recommended if the original doctor does not specialize in the cancer type, underestimates the seriousness of the situation or is not exactly sure about the extent of cancer.

A patient seeking a second opinion should keep, and bring, copies of all pathology reports and other medical records. If unsatisfied with the second opinion, the patient should seek additional opinions.

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