Why Cancer Misdiagnosis Happens and Who Is Responsible

Updated on February 18, 2021

Every year, 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed, with cancer being one of the most likely conditions to fly under a doctor’s radar. It is estimated that up to one in five cancers gets misdiagnosed, but the number might be a lot higher because there isn’t enough adequate research on the topic. There are several risk factors for cancer misdiagnosis, with human error being the number one cause. 

What is Cancer Misdiagnosis? 

How many times have you read about a case of a patient who underwent wrong treatment and had some nasty complications following a doctor’s advice? Improper treatment is usually prescribed to a patient because of misdiagnosis. 

Misdiagnosis refers to a faulty examination by a medical expert that leads to the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment. The consequences of cancer misdiagnosis can be lethal. A patient who has undergone incorrect examination and given inappropriate treatment will miss the best cancer treatment opportunities in its early stages, which could prove fatal. 

Early diagnosis of cancer is advisable at the disease’s early stages before it can get worse. When it reaches its topmost level, it becomes too difficult to treat and might soon lead to death. 

Why does Cancer Misdiagnosis happen? 

Cancers that occur frequently are the same ones that get most often misdiagnosed. Another risk factor that can lead to misdiagnosis is that some cancer symptoms don’t show early. They only show when the condition is in an advanced stage. 

Here are some of the cancers that are the most likely to get misdiagnosed:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer. 

1. Colorectal Cancer Misdiagnosis 

Colorectal cancer is common among many patients globally. It affects the rectum and lower intestines. Many doctors have mistaken it for inflammatory bowel diseases. Other doctors have also diagnosed it as Piles, giving cancer patients the wrong treatment, which shortened their life expectancy. 

2. Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis 

Lung cancer is often mistaken for other respiratory diseases because it has matching symptoms with them. Some of the common respiratory symptoms that lead doctors astray include coughing, wheezing, a hoarse sounding voice, and shortness of breath. Many doctors confuse lung cancer with pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis. 

3. Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis 

Many women are currently aware of breast cancer and its side effects if not diagnosed early. Fortunately, many breast cancer diagnosis programs are now available globally, making it easier for many women to undergo diagnosis. Most doctors misdiagnose breast cancer as a liquid contained in tissue or hormonal issues. 

4. Pancreatic Cancer 

Medics confuse this deadly form of cancer for gallstones or pancreatitis because it occurs in the digestive tract. Shockingly, others treat it as diabetes because it’s a symptom of pancreatic cancer. 

Whose Responsibility Is It?

Mostly, cancer misdiagnosis occurs due to a lack of knowledge about its symptoms. However, there are scenarios where the patient undergoes misdiagnosis due to the doctor’s negligence. 

If you realize you were misdiagnosed and were harmed by delayed or wrong treatment, hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you with your case. The advantage of hiring a knowledgeable lawyer is that they can help you win a medical malpractice case, even when the at-fault doctor or hospital has an army of attorneys to back them up.

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