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What to do when you have a cancer misdiagnosis

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Cancer Misdiagnosis

A cancer misdiagnosis can mean that you have wrongly been told that you have cancer or the healthcare system has failed to diagnose your cancer correctly. Either way, people in California who have this experience will suffer emotional stress and perhaps miss out on opportunities for effective treatment. Whether you know that you have been misdiagnosed or suspect that your doctor is wrong, take these steps.

Get a second opinion

Medical professionals cannot realistically operate with 100% accuracy at all times. Diseases like cancer often lack clear symptoms, and diagnostic testing may not produce conclusive results.

You can pursue greater accuracy by consulting one or more physicians about your problem. Although this process will be time consuming, it could result in proper medical treatment and prevent the serious consequences of getting the wrong treatment or no treatment at all.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Medical Association provide resources to help individuals find cancer specialists. Look for physicians who have experience with your suspected condition.

Sources of cancer misdiagnoses

Cancer is not a single disease. Hundreds of cancers exist, and they can be difficult to locate within the body. Even if medical tests detect cancer cells, you might not ever know about them if the pathologist who reads the test results makes a mistake and does not see the evidence.

On the other hand, a pathologist might call something cancer when it is not. For example, a lung infection may look like cancer. Instead of prescribing antibiotics, a doctor might order an invasive lung biopsy.

Aside from pathologists, the doctor who sees you in an office may not recognize your symptoms or order appropriate tests. Many forms of cancer are quite rare, and some doctors thus have no opportunity to gain experience with them.