Cancer Misdiagnosis: An Overview

The rate of cancer misdiagnosis is almost 30%, according to the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal, a patient-focused editorial concentrating on quality and safety in healthcare. With cancer rating in the top 10 leading causes of death across the globe by the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease is expected to affect the lives of twice as many people as it does today in the next decade or so, with estimates at a whopping 21.4 million cases and 13.5 million deaths by 2030.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), one out of every two people will have some type of cancer diagnosis within their lifetime. The fast-paced lifestyle that is common for many in today’s society often makes patients ignore muted symptoms – creating results that can be catastrophic and even fatal.

Help Your Doctor Make the Right Diagnosis

When it comes to healthcare, the patient is the best advocate. Misdiagnosis, defined as the failure to diagnose, is a common type of medical malpractice claim and cancer is often the health condition at issue. Breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer are three of the five commonly misdiagnosed health conditions in family medicine, along with appendicitis and heart attacks. Medical malpractice claims proving the doctor was negligent, and that health services fell below the standard of care, which resulted in damages to the patient, can provide much needed compensation for medical bills and loss of income, in addition to pain and suffering.

That being said, there are things patients can do to help their doctor properly diagnose an ailment:

1. Keep a journal of every symptom – sitting down before a scheduled medical appointment and writing down questions and topics of concern will help both the patient and doctor when it comes to figuring out the best way to proceed.
2. Plan to obtain medical records before seeing a specialist – patients are entitled to medical records, and although laws vary depending on the state of residency, most healthcare facilities can charge a reasonable fee for copying and sending records to another medical provider.
3. Research the family tree – some diseases and conditions, such as cancer, are passed down through the generations and, as such, the better prepared and knowledgeable a patient is about family history, the higher the likelihood that misdiagnosis will not occur.
4. Ask about expectations – once a medical provider does make a diagnosis, patients should inquire further about expectations including what additional symptoms are red flags and what to do if they appear.

Contact a New York Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the misdiagnosis of a health condition, contact a New York cancer misdiagnosis attorney today for advice on your legal rights. The experienced and skilled lawyers at Sonin & Genis will guide you and your family through this difficult time and fight to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Call (718) 561-4444 today to schedule your appointment.

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