Cancer is an aggressive medical condition that, fortunately, many people can survive if individuals receive their diagnoses early. Many patients who don’t survive cancer fail to do so for one of two reasons. They either do so because they wait too long to see a doctor that it’s virtually impossible to treat them, or doctors misdiagnose them.
There are various reasons why doctors may misdiagnose cancers. One of the more common reasons this occurs is that doctors fail to run the right tests to determine whether a patient has cancer or another condition with similar symptoms. Some cancers are more apt to go misdiagnosed than others.
What are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers?
New Hope Unlimited details how physicians confuse the following four cancers for other medical conditions the most:
- Pancreatic cancer. Doctors often give patients an inflammatory bowel, gallbladder disease or pancreatitis diagnosis instead of cancer.
- Breast cancer. Many patients receive fibrocystic breast disease, breast inflammation or benign cyst diagnoses before discovering that they have breast cancer.
- Colorectal cancer. Various bowel disorders such as hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis can leave patients with similar symptoms to cancer, resulting in a misdiagnosis.
- Lung cancer. Many patients first receive respiratory infection, pneumonia or tuberculosis diagnosis before ultimately finding out that they have lung cancer instead.
Patients may experience significant, irreversible declines in their health due to their delayed diagnoses of the above-referenced cancers.
Harm that patients suffer because of misdiagnoses
There are many downsides to patients receiving the wrong or a delayed diagnosis, including:
- Physical suffering and emotional harm caused by receiving the wrong diagnosis and treatment.
- A potential for receiving the wrong treatment that carries with it its own side effects.
- Monetary losses associated with procuring the wrong treatment.
- The passing of more time before they receive the correct treatment necessary to potentially reverse their fate.
Doctors must exhibit a certain standard of care when working with patients. This includes performing the right diagnostic tests to rule out incorrect medical conditions. You may be able to hold a doctor liable for their negligence if they failed to uphold a high standard of care.