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Commonly misdiagnosed cancers

| Apr 8, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

It is important for patients in Pennsylvania to get the earliest possible cancer diagnosis so that treatment can begin. A misdiagnosis could cause the cancer to spread, making treatment ineffective. A misdiagnosis commonly means that the doctor found a condition but issued the wrong diagnosis. This happens when so many cancers have similar conditions.

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer occurs more frequently in patients over 60 years old with symptoms such as unintended weight loss, fever, blood in urine, anemia and lower back pain. Since the kidneys lie deep in the body, the doctor often cannot detect small tumors, meaning the tumor has grown by the time the doctor detects it.

The patient may not show any symptoms in early stages, so the cancer gets diagnosed as other conditions. Kidney cancer can mimic irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infection and bladder infection.

Ovarian cancer and breast cancer

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths in women than any other type, but it can commonly be treated during early stages. Some common symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, excessive bloating, frequent urination, decrease in appetite and unexplained weight loss. Symptoms often get diagnosed as diverticulosis, heartburn, endometriosis and menopause.

Some common signs of breast cancer include changes in breast appearance, inverted nipples, breast skin dimpling, thickening of skin or lumps, and blood discharges from the nipple. It may get diagnosed as mastitis or fibrocystic breast disease.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer detected early can commonly be treated, but it often does not appear until the tumors have grown enough to produce symptoms. Some common symptoms include trouble breathing, chronic cough, bloody sputum, wheezing, voice changes and unintended weight loss.

Lung cancer divides into small cell and non-small cell, and non-small cell may further divide into squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. Lung cancer could get misdiagnosed as seasonal allergies, tuberculosis or pneumonia, but some conditions also mimic it, such as lymphoma.

When a doctor does not follow the best standard of care, resulting in a misdiagnosis, they may commit medical malpractice. Patients who think they have been harmed because of medical misdiagnosis may seek compensation.