According to studies conducted by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the lifetime probability of an American developing cancer is 44 percent for males and 38 percent for females. A 2010 study by the ACS also found that, in a single year, there were 75,260 cases of cancer in the state of Pennsylvania alone. Statistics like these are sobering, to be sure, but they also emphasize the importance of getting the recommended cancer screenings. Unfortunately, it is also important to remain aware of the possibility for mistakes in the process of diagnosing cancer. Medical professionals and equipment are rarely perfect and can occasionally misdiagnose or overlook cancers.
RightDiagnosis.com, a website dedicated to keeping patients and physicians abreast of developing cancer research and statistics, with combined effort from HealthGrades.com, reports that “failure to diagnose or treat in time was the most common cause of a patient safety incident, with a rate of 155 per 1,000 hospitalized patients.” And even though Right Diagnosis admits there is an unfortunate lack of research regarding the misdiagnosis of cancer, the website posits that a majority of medical malpractice lawsuits involve misdiagnosis of cancers. The most common cancer misdiagnoses are of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
Proceeding from malpractice lawsuit statistics, Right Diagnosis found that cases of misdiagnosis often occurred in hospital emergency departments and ICUs, with one study finding a rate of 20 percent misdiagnosis in ICUs. It should be reemphasized that there is a deficit in concrete data regarding cancer misdiagnoses. Suffice it to say; when it comes to cancer, it is never a bad idea to get a second opinion: even the most competent of doctors can make mistakes. For more information on cancer misdiagnoses, visit RightDiagnosis.com.