Approximately 1.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and misdiagnosis is not uncommon. Last year, tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients across the country were reviewed by researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. It was determined that one out of every 71 cases was misdiagnosed, and up to one out of every five cancer cases was misclassified. Misclassification can often contribute to a failure to properly identify how far or fast the cancer has spread, which could potentially affect whether a patient receives no treatment, surgery, or radiation therapy.
These kinds of misdiagnoses can occur with any biopsy, but especially tissue from the skin, prostate, breast, and female reproductive tract. Diagnoses are made by a pathologist examining a piece of the tumor on a slide, a process that has largely gone unchanged over the last 50 years. Problems may emerge if two pathologists have different levels of expertise and experience in reading tissue samples. More Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer are starting to understand the benefit of getting a second opinion from a pathologist who has expertise in that field of cancer.
Cancer misdiagnosis could lead to unnecessary treatments and repetitive, invasive, high risk surgeries, which can leave patients in weakened states and more susceptible to infection. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of being misdiagnosed with cancer, contact a cancer misdiagnosis attorney at Kline & Specter today.