As some families in Mississippi may have experienced, a misdiagnosis of lung cancer can have deadly consequences. Lung cancer is the most commonly missed type of cancer, and failing to spot it at an early stage makes a large difference in treatment.
Missing Lung Cancer
Screening for cancer can be tricky because all cancers show up in different ways. Lung cancer is especially hard to detect when it first appears in the body. While doctors may have an idea of which patients are more likely to develop lung cancer based on their medical history, finding the cancer itself is another matter. Lung cancer shares symptoms with many other conditions, and the full tests are highly invasive, so doctors don’t like to use them unless they are necessary. Medical staff can also make mistakes in processing or analyzing tests, which is another source of potential delay.
Cost of delay
Unfortunately, lung cancer becomes much harder to treat as time goes on. If left undiagnosed, it can quickly move to from curable to non-curable. The options for treatment become more invasive and less effective, and the health outcomes for the patient become worse. Missing a lung cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosing lung cancer as something else can be medical malpractice depending on the circumstances of the case. The consequences for a missed diagnosis get worse the longer the mistake goes uncorrected, which just adds to the issue.
If one or more members of the care team fail to diagnose lung cancer, the costs include a shorter prognosis, more complications, and lowered quality of life due to the side effects of treatment.