One of the most challenging things to hear in a medical office is a cancer diagnosis. Most people know the reputation surrounding cancer and the long process that follows the heartbreaking diagnosis. However, there is something much worse than a cancer diagnosis.
Never knew you had cancer in the first place.
Thousands of patients each year come into the doctor and receive an inaccurate diagnosis. It leads to wasted time and money as patients treat the wrong problem instead of the real cause. The same is true for people suffering from cancer.
Why do some patients receive misdiagnoses?
Many cancer patients start with general symptoms such as blood in urine, swollen glands, an unusual mole, unexpected weight loss, stomach pains, etc. The symptoms are usually so widespread that doctors tend to work their way through several theories before settling on final diagnosis.
There is also the possibility of having a rare form of cancer that's trickier to spot. For example, rare types include thyroid cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and mouth cancer. There are also groups of people who are rarely diagnosed with cancer, such as children or young women. In these groups, doctors hesitate to start cancer treatment until the diagnosis is validated.
Misdiagnosis doesn't always fall onto the fault of the doctor, but in specific circumstances, a doctor's mistake leads to severe consequences for patients. It's crucial to know what invokes a misdiagnosis and how you should respond.
How to respond to a misdiagnosis
The first step any patient should take after a misdiagnosis is getting a second opinion. A second opinion allows you to know the extent of your cancer, the severity of the disease, and any other major concerns with your health.
It also begins a process for collecting medical paperwork including hospital stays, radiology tests and pathology reports. With medical documentation, you may seek compensation through a medical malpractice suit in the future.
After collecting evidence, you need to speak with your doctors and an attorney to decide if the misdiagnosis needs further legal action. If you find the doctor is liable for your life-threatening disease, it's time to file a medical malpractice claim.