What are the 4 most commonly misdiagnosed cancers?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Early detection is key if you want to survive any form of cancer. The earlier the doctors provide you with an accurate diagnosis, the sooner you can begin receiving treatment and improving your long-term prognosis.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals here in Indianapolis and throughout the state of Indiana misdiagnose some cancers at a disturbingly high rate. 

Cancers and other medical conditions they’re often confused for

According to New Hope Unlimited, doctors misdiagnose the following cancers the most: 

  1. Lung cancer. Conditions that resemble lung cancer symptoms include pneumonia, tuberculosis and other respiratory illnesses.
  2. Breast cancer. Common illnesses that may resemble breast cancer include fibrocystic breast disease, non-cancerous cysts and breast inflammation.  
  3. Colorectal cancer. Several bowel conditions mimic colorectal cancer, including ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and hemorrhoids.
  4. Pancreatic cancer. Common misdiagnoses of this type of cancer include pancreatitis, gallstones or inflammatory bowel disease.

All the cancers above have a higher chance of becoming fatal without an early diagnosis. 

How misdiagnoses harm patients

Although anyone can make a mistake, physicians are held to a high standard when diagnosing illnesses. An incorrect diagnosis harms patients in several ways, including:

  • Not allowing patients to receive the correct treatment early enough
  • Patients potentially receiving harmful treatments developed for a different condition
  • Spending vast amounts of money on medical services they do not need (leading to financial harm)
  • Suffering extreme emotional and psychological side effects of both cancer and the misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosing cancer is often a form of medical malpractice. Physicians undergo training and education to either spot the signs of cancer or dig deeper to uncover the correct medical issue. When doctors fail in their duties and hand down an incorrect diagnosis, harmed patients can seek financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim.