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Diseases » Cancer » Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis of Cancer

Misdiagnosis of Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer can be delayed or missed because in early stages there may not be any symptoms. In addition, some symptoms of cancer can be vague and similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. For example, symptoms of brain cancer may mimic symptoms of a migraine headache or transient ischemic attack. Symptoms of breast cancer may resemble symptoms of mastitis or fibrocystic breasts. Symptoms of prostate cancer can be similar to symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Symptoms of lung cancer can mimic symptoms of bronchitis or COPD. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be similar to symptoms of liver failure or pancreatitis. Symptoms of colorectal cancer may resemble symptoms of hemorrhoids, and symptoms of bladder cancer can be similar to symptoms of a urinary tract infection....more about Cancer »

Cancer misdiagnosis: Cancer may be misdiagnosed....more about Cancer »

Diseases for which Cancer may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Cancer is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Cancer: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Cancer

Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi. See melanoma and spitz nevi.

Cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Cancer

Failure to diagnose Cancer may be associated with the following:

  • Cancer is often undiagnosed as it usually has few if any symptoms in the early stages
  • The failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner can have a great impact on treatment effectiveness and survival prognosis
  • As cancer can affect virtually any part of the body, the symptoms may be extremely varied in nature and severity and thus may be attributed to numerous other causes or simply ignored. For example, a persistent sore on the face may be a sign of skin cancer but the patient may simply consider it harmless and investigate no further. Gastrointestinal cancers often produce gastrointestinal symptoms that may be put down to general causes such as stress, dietary changes or illness
  • Misdiagnosis of cancer can result from inadequate testing techniques or misinterpretation of the results. Sometimes, suspicious results are not followed up on
  • Sometimes, insufficient tests are ordered to further investigate suspicious symptoms
  • Many health professionals do not have sufficient knowledge of the vast array of possible cancers. Nevertheless, even common cancer symptoms are sometimes overlooked
  • Some patients have their cancer symptoms overlooked if they don't fall into the category typical for a certain cancer. For example, breast cancer in males or young females is often missed
  • Cancer symptoms in children are often missed as parents and sometimes even health professionals tend to ignore children's symptoms especially if they are vague or tend to come and go (e.g. tiredness, abdominal discomfort and pain)
  • Many medical negligence cases relate to the failure to diagnose a cancer

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Cancer

Wrong diagnosis of Cancer may be associated with the following:

  • Some cancers are very rare and are hence less likely to be diagnosed correctly
  • A misdiagnosis of a less serious condition with cancer can result in unnecessary treatment which can be quite invasive, disfiguring and debilitating e.g. chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Conversely, a cancer misdiagnosed as a less serious condition can lead to a reduced survival prognosis

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Cancer

  • Sometimes the aggressiveness of a particular cancer is underestimated and delays in further testing or treatment can impact greatly on prognosis

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Cancer:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Cancer:

Misdiagnosis and Cancer deaths

Cancer is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Cancer or confirming a diagnosis of Cancer, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Cancer may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Cancer. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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