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What is the most misdiagnosed cancer?

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is tragic and is a diagnosis you would hope is taken seriously by your doctor. However, imagine the impact on a patient if they learnt that the diagnosis was in fact incorrect.

With there now being hundreds of different types of cancers and even more symptoms, the misdiagnosis of cancer is, unfortunately, becoming more common. If you believe you may have been incorrectly diagnosed with cancer, Hudgells may be able to help.

Which cancers are commonly misdiagnosed?

  • Breast cancer – With over 55,000 cases of breast cancer being diagnosed every year, there is the possibility that the symptoms are mistaken for other breast conditions. Other conditions that can be misdiagnosed as cancer are non-cancerous cysts, breast inflammation and fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Pancreatic cancer – This form of cancer can be misdiagnosed as diabetes due to the disease being a symptom of cancer. Other misdiagnoses include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pancreatitis and gallstones.
  • Colorectal cancer – Similar to pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer can also be misdiagnosed as IBS as well as ulcerative colitis and haemorrhoids. There are also several inflammatory diseases that cause issues in the bowel that are similar to symptoms of colorectal cancer.
  • Lung cancer – This form of cancer can begin with consistent coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing, all symptoms of respiratory problems such as asthma and pneumonia. As lung cancer can take some time to diagnose due to the varying symptoms, this can mean that cancer spreads quickly, pushing doctors to diagnosis prematurely in fear for the patient.
  • Thyroid cancer – Thyroid cancer symptoms are quite general, including trouble breathing, swallowing and swelling. These symptoms are also found with Lyme disease and neck cancer.

Can I do anything to prevent a cancer misdiagnosis?

Although you cannot guarantee prevention of cancer misdiagnosis, there are steps you can take to gather all the information that may come in useful:

  • Get to know your medical history – some cancers do run in the family, therefore knowing your medical history can aid a medical professional in coming to an accurate diagnosis.
  • Get advice from more than one medical professional – If you have done some of your own research and are not completely confident in the diagnosis you have received, you can seek advice from another doctor.
  • Enquire about specific tests – If your doctor has not recommended a certain test and you believe it could aid in your diagnosis you can insist that you receive the testing. However, if the results suggest that the test was not needed, you would be made to pay for the test.

If you believe you have received an incorrect cancer diagnosis, it is vital that you seek legal advice as soon as you are aware that there may have been negligence.

Making a cancer misdiagnosis claim

One of the most common type’s of misdiagnosis happens when there is a delay in diagnosing cancer. This happens when someone who has been diagnosed with cancer has reason to ask if it should have been diagnosed earlier.

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