Hearing you might have cancer is a terrifying prospect, so if your doctor says tests show there is no cancer, it will likely come as a relief. What if your health continues to decline and you become sicker, though? You may seek a second opinion, only to find out you do indeed have cancer. Is this a common occurrence?
Why do cancer misdiagnoses occur?
Cancer misdiagnoses are a type of medical malpractice. Sometimes a doctor does not have the skill to identify certain cancers. They could overlook cancer cells in tests. A negligent doctor could miss a cancer diagnosis even after studying blood or tissue samples. Other examples of medical malpractice include:
- Not recognizing common signs of cancer
- Misreading x-rays or mammograms
- Not ordering necessary tests
- Not taking suspect tissues for biopsy
- Improperly labeling or handling test results
These are all acts of negligence that could lead to a misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis of cancer can lead to a worsened condition or even to death.
What to do about a cancer misdiagnosis
You have some options if you are misdiagnosed. First, speak honestly to all of your physicians about your condition, even the physician who misdiagnosed you. Keep a paper trail of your medical records and test results. Ask your physicians to meet to discuss your diagnosis. And do not be afraid to seek a second or even third opinion.
Act on your misdiagnosis
You may feel scared and frustrated if you are misdiagnosed and your cancer is overlooked. You do have options if this happens. You may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if you are misdiagnosed. Cancer is a serious illness, and you deserve appropriate and competent care for such a diagnosis.