Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

3 forms of cancer misdiagnosis

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

The word “cancer” already causes great discomfort to anyone. Imagine patients who have been told they don’t have it but really do and have it when they really don’t. There are different ways a medical professional can misdiagnose a patient with cancer.

Failure to detect cancer

Doctors can overlook cancer, especially in its early stages. In cases like this, it isn’t until the illness has spread before doctors correctly diagnose patients. What makes this form of misdiagnosis unsettling is that patients could have treated their cancer early on, when it has not grown deeply into their system yet. Instead, they would have to endure much more treatment and suffer additional costs because of their doctor’s negligence.

Failure to diagnose the correct type of cancer

Another form of cancer misdiagnosis is mistaking one type for another. Though all cancer is cancer, each type requires a unique treatment focus. When doctors diagnose the wrong type of cancer, their patients will also undergo the wrong treatment. Not only will the actual cancer spread but the patient can also suffer severe side effects from the wrong treatment.

Misdiagnosis of a false positive

Though less heard of, a false positive cancer result is also one form of misdiagnosis. This is when doctors diagnose patients with cancer when the latter do not have them. While this misdiagnosis rarely results in severe physical injury or fatality, it still causes other damage to the patients. The emotional toll of being diagnosed with cancer, albeit nonexistent, can greatly affect a patient’s life.

Recourse for those who suffer

Medical professionals have a duty to exercise reasonable medical care when attending to their patients. Misdiagnosing cancer, in any form, is a breach of this duty, and any patient who suffers from it can hold them legally responsible for their negligence.

Nonetheless, the law requires certain elements of medical malpractice before a victim can hold their doctor liable. Hence, it is crucial to meticulously review the facts, circumstances and evidence to ensure the claim will hold.

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