Failure To Diagnose Cancer Is A Common Medical MalpracticeFailure to diagnose a disease under medical conditions can be described as the inability of the physician to diagnose a patient properly and identify the actual cause of illness. Failure to diagnose is a form of medical malpractice that is quite common in medical conditions like cancer and heart attack.
There are more than 100 different types of cancers. Formation of a new cell inside the body precedes the death of an older cell. Cancer can be defined as abnormal proliferation of cells characterized by uncontrolled cell division and growth. The ratio between cell division and cell death is altered as a result of which the mass of excess tissue converts into a tumor. This tumor can be localized in a particular organ forming a benign tumor or else it invades surrounding tissue turning into metastases.
In many cases, cancer goes undetected until it has reached an advanced stage where the chances of survival are very low. In certain cancers, there are warning symptoms that indicate the presence of the disease. Some of these include presence of a thickening or a lump inside a body part, usual bleeding or discharge, uncontrolled cough, changes in the bowel habits, difficulty in swallowing, digestion problems and urination problems. While biopsy is the most common procedure done to identify cancer, there are certain other screening tests that are helpful in identifying a cancer early. Some of these include PAP smear test for cervical cancer, PSA antigen detection for prostate cancer, mammogram for breast cancer and Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy for detecting colorectal cancers.
It is important to administer these tests properly so as to counter the disease early. However, it is quite a common practice to misread a mammogram or a biopsy in case of breast cancer patients leading to a delayed diagnosis and allowing the cancer to spread.
Similar misdiagnosis also occurs in various other types of cancers including cervical, esophageal, colorectal and prostate. The most important reason for a misdiagnosis is ignorance. Most physicians are not aware of the improvements in diagnostic procedures. Even if they are aware, many lack knowledge about how to interpret the results obtained from such diagnostic procedures. Early detection of cancer leads to better survival and requires the patient to undergo a less painful treatment. Delayed diagnosis reduces the chances of survival and the patient also needs to undergo a rather aggressive and painful treatment procedures.