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How can cancer be misdiagnosed?

Patients in Providence may feel as though given today’s advanced diagnostic tools, the missing or misdiagnosis of a serious illness by a doctor or other healthcare professional to be an impossibility. Yet it should be remembered that healthcare providers are subject to the same errors in judgment as the rest of the general population. According to information shared by ABC News, every year 1.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer. Yet researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital found in their own study that nearly 1 on every 71 cases studied showed a cancer misdiagnosis.

You might be wondering how an illness as serious as cancer can be missed or wrongly diagnosed. Cancer symptoms can often mimic the signs of other, less-serious ailments. Thus, should you present to the doctor with problems, there’s a possibility that he or she will immediately rule out cancer as a possible cause in favor of other, more common diseases. Without any accompanying radiological or laboratory studies that could show the presence of cancer, doctors could easily incorrectly diagnose you, leading to a delay in treatment that could potentially be life-threatening. 

There are steps that you as a patient can take, however, to help lower the chances of a potential cancer you may have being misdiagnosed. These include:

  • Thoroughly documenting your symptoms to share with your doctor
  • Being aware of your family’s history of cancer
  • Asking your doctor what to expect if his or diagnosis is correct, and then returning if you don’t see those improvements
  • Keeping track of all diagnostic studies and tests done related to your current symptoms

Your chances of beating cancer are greatly increased should it be diagnosed early. While this information is not meant to serve as legal advice, it could potentially save your life, if followed.

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Providence, RI 02903

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