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A costly mistake: cancer misdiagnoses

Most Pennsylvania residents understand that to err is human. However, this sentiment becomes incredibly complex when a life is at stake. Although medical mistakes can be common, those involving cancer diagnoses have little room for error. Below are some common types of cancer doctors miss most, as well as a number of factors that can play into a misdiagnosis. 

A 2015 report from Fox News uses the research of the Institute of Medicine to show that, every year, roughly 1 in 20 adults will experience a medical mistake. Furthermore, the study reflected a growing concern in regard to such mistakes, noting that most Americans will see some type of error while receiving medical care. What, most patients wonder, are the most commonly made mistakes? According to Fox, colorectal, lung and breast cancers are the three conditions most prone to an error upon diagnosis. Fox also pulls research from the Journal of the American Medical Association to point out that these delayed diagnostic errors make up about 10 percent of all mistakes reported by physicians.

While there are many stages of the diagnosis process that can go awry, The New York Times takes a different angle on the topic by discussing error specifics. Stating that young adults are most likely to go overlooked when it comes to a cancer diagnosis, The Times shares that a large number of physicians carry the faulty assumption that only older generations are prone to this vicious disease. As a result, countless patients receive diagnoses at later, much more dangerous stages. Other factors that can lead to a misdiagnosis include insufficient time with the patient, faulty equipment to detect areas of concern and limited knowledge. Once again, although errors are a natural part of being human, some are more costly than others.      



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