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Misdiagnoses of cancer tied to incomplete medical information

Cancer comes in many forms and it is fast becoming a major killer in our society. Practically everyone in Providence knows someone who has had cancer or died from it. When it comes to cancer, the earlier it is detected and the patient starts receiving treatment for it, the higher the survival rate is. Yet patients are often victims of cancer misdiagnosis, which can greatly impact their chance of beating the disease. For these victims, often the delay in the diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence because by the time the mistake is discovered, they are in the final stage and no treatment can save them.

However, by gathering data relating to cancer misdiagnosis, it may be possible for cancer experts and other medical professionals to understand the causes and initiate change that will lower the number of patients whose cancer diagnosis was delayed. That was the purpose of a study that was recently conducted on a national level.

The survey revealed that incomplete medical information contributed significantly to a patient's cancer being misdiagnosed by doctors. Furthermore, doctors are not receiving feedback that they even made a mistake in a patient's diagnosis. A large portion of the over 400 cancer specialists surveyed thought that only about 10 percent of patients are misdiagnosed. The survey said that other studies show the actual number ranges between 15 and 28 percent.

The failure to detect cancer is not a simple mistake that can be easily corrected. It impacts the life of patients and their family, causing untold pain and suffering. The medical industry should pay close attention to this survey and use it to improve the current diagnosis process.

Source: The Patriot Ledger, "Survey shows doctors want lawmakers help in preventing misdiagnoses," Morgan True, Jan. 30, 2013

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