How Common Is Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis and Other Cancer Errors?
Current estimates are that 10-20% of all cancer cases are misdiagnosed. There are two essential types of misdiagnosis – when someone is told they have cancer when they actually do not and when someone is told they do not have cancer but they actually do. Both situations can be extremely dangerous for patients, both pose serious health risks and can irrevocably damage health or lead to death. Here are the facts you need to know to protect yourself.
Out of the mistakes that are made, nearly one-third are life-threatening errors. More than 40,000 people die each year as a result of misdiagnosed cancer and countless others are harmed from enduring treatments when they never had cancer. The error rate may actually be much higher since many physicians don’t report instances of misdiagnosis because they don’t want to be held accountable for their mistakes.
The most misdiagnosed forms of cancer include:
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Metastatic cancer
Cancer misdiagnosis is more common than you think
When surveyed, doctors consistently point to causes other than themselves, but physician error and doctors rushing through appointments are major problems. Here are some of the other factors that often lead to cancer misdiagnosis:
- Fragmented or missing medical information
- Errors in testing procedures
- Failure to perform needed tests including biopsy
- Errors in interpreting test results
- Failing to recognize common signs and symptoms of cancer
- Failure to perform follow-up testing
- Neglecting to follow up with patients after testing
- Identifying a tumor as benign when it’s malignant
- Negligent care
- Errors in proper labeling on laboratory results (patients receiving someone else’s test results!)
Damage caused by misdiagnosis can be catastrophic
Physicians that anonymously report errors estimate that 28% of errors were either life-threatening, caused death or permanent disability of patients. Because cancer is more easily treated in early stages, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis allows the cancer to fester, make you sicker and reduces the chances of successful treatment or a cure.
- Reduced survival rates
- More drastic treatment required when cancer diagnosed later
- Harsher side effects from more drastic treatments
- Increased mortality rates
- Risk of disability or permanent health condition
We must hold the medical profession accountable for mistakes
It’s important that we hold physicians and other medical care providers accountable for their mistakes – particularly when they cost people their health and/or their lives. We must be able to trust and rely on medical caregivers but, unfortunately, when they do make mistakes, instead of coming clean and trying to make things right, they close ranks, refuse to acknowledge what happened and this makes things worse on the patients. This is why you need an expert attorney like Rob Kornfeld on your side.