Cancer in all of its forms can pose a challenge for doctors to diagnose. Its subtlety, sometimes slow onset, and tendency to show major symptoms only in more advanced stages require careful attention and skill from the medical professionals charged with the task of diagnosing and treating it. The stakes of such diagnoses, however, can be quite high and you as a patient could stand to suffer a worsening condition and prolonged complications should medical professionals inadequately diagnose your disease. Certain forms of cancer are overlooked with particular frequency or have their symptoms improperly attributed to other conditions. As a patient, it can be important for you to have a working knowledge of the symptoms that you are suffering and to know when a second opinion should be sought to ensure your health and safety.
Which Cancers are Misdiagnosed and Why?
In a Harvard study of malpractice claims, cancer exceeded all other conditions in the frequency with which it was misdiagnosed. Of the broad range of cancers prevalent in modern society, breast, lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers were misdiagnosed far more often than any others. This is due in part to the frequency of these cancers. In the case of breast cancer, which will be faced by an estimated 10% of women at some point in their lifetime, the commonality with which it occurs is a major factor in its frequent misdiagnosis. The similarity of these diseases’ symptoms to other conditions also complicates factors, such as colorectal cancer being frequently mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and lung cancer appearing at first glance to be a respiratory infection. However, researchers have maintained that the primary cause of misdiagnosis continues to be a failure to properly adhere to cancer screening guidelines and tests. Where adherence to procedures is improved, mistakes in diagnosis invariably decline.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself from Misdiagnosis?
The best defense against a cancer misdiagnosis is vigilance and scrutiny of your own symptoms. If you believe that your doctor is neglecting to consider the totality of your symptoms or downplays their severity and persistence, doing your own research and seeking out a second opinion can literally be a life-saving act of initiative. The only risk you face is acquiring the peace of mind of knowing that your fears were misplaced.
What Should I Do When I Learn that I Have Been Misdiagnosed?
Contact Dover Law Firm. If you or a loved one are injured in an accident, acquiring proper representation is the most important part of pursuing appropriate compensation. Your interests will be best represented by a firm that not only understands the law, but medical terminology, conditions, and procedures as well. You must assume that the other party in your case will acquire skilled representation and that you must do the same to ensure your well-being.
That skill and dedication is what distinguishes Dover Law Firm from other Atlanta law firms. To provide for your representation, call Dover Law Firm today so that we can begin the process of securing your interests and getting you back on the road to recovery.