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Misdiagnosed cancer happens more frequently than expected

Many Pittsburgh residents will be affected by cancer in their lifetime. A cancer diagnosis can be scary for anyone regardless of the type of cancer. And when a person receives a cancer diagnosis, the treatment and surgery can be painful and debilitating.

For some patients the cancer diagnosis is not accurate. The failure to diagnose cancer or the misdiagnosis of cancer is a common occurrence throughout the United States. Over 1.3 million people receive a cancer diagnosis each year. But studies through Johns Hopkins show that 1 out of 71 cancer diagnosis was misdiagnosed and 1 out of 5 cancer cases were not classified correctly.

When someone's cancer is not diagnosed correctly they may not receive the proper treatment or they may receive delayed treatment. It is critical for cancer patients to receive treatment immediately for the best chances of survival. The misreading of tissue samples is where the cancer diagnosis error typically occurs. Typically the misdiagnosis occurs in samples taken from the skin, prostate, breast, and the female reproductive tract.

Those who have received a cancer diagnosis are urged to seek a second opinion from an expert pathologist. A second opinion can mean the difference in treatment options and whether cancer is even present in the body. If a family is suffering from a misdiagnosed cancer, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. Compensation may be available for unexpected medical expenses, loss of wages, and other damages. Holding medical providers responsible for their negligence is important in making sure they don't harm anyone else.

Source: abcnews.com, "Misdiagnosed Cancer Not Uncommon," John McKenzie, May 8, 2014

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