A failure to diagnose cancer can be deadly. Much of the time, doctors want to start treatment as soon as possible, and recovery rates are far better for those who get treatment in the early stages than for those who do not get it until the later stages. If a doctor misses something and it takes months or even years longer than it should have to spot the cancer and get treatment started, a patient who would have survived may pass away.
A misdiagnosis can also be a serious issue. The patient may start a type of treatment that they don’t need. In the “best” cases, this just delays the onset of proper treatment. In the worst, it may actively make the condition worse.
Doctors can overlook or wrongly identify any type of cancer, but three types that see these errors the most are:
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
In one study that looked at different types of doctor errors — more than just overlooking cancer — 583 errors were studied. About 20% of them involved cancer of some type. That said, roughly 10% involved just those three types of cancer that are listed above. The other 10% were made up from every single other type of cancer that entered the study. While it is clear that these errors happen in many ways, it’s also clear that people with these three types of cancer face some of the greatest risks.
Has this happened to you, and did a doctor’s mistake have a drastic impact on your condition? Be sure you know what legal steps to take.