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Misdiagnosis of Lung cancer

Misdiagnosis of Lung cancer

Because most people have no symptoms of lung cancer in its early stages, it is easy to miss a diagnosis of the condition when it is most treatable and most curable.

A diagnosis of lung cancer can also be delayed, because it may be confused with or assumed to be symptoms of other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. Lung cancer can also be easily overlooked when it occurs at the same time as one of these lung conditions. If you have been treated for one of these conditions, but the symptoms continue, you should seek prompt medical care and notify your health care provider that you still have symptoms....more about Lung cancer »

Lung cancer misdiagnosis: Lung cancer is often overlooked or delayed in diagnosis. Lung cancer ranks 4th in malpractice lawsuits, with the typical claim over failure to diagnose early enough. Many suits argue a failure by the doctor to identify a symptom and a failure to order tests such as chest x-rays....more about Lung cancer »

Alternative diagnoses list for Lung cancer:

For a diagnosis of Lung cancer, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Lung cancer:

Diseases for which Lung cancer may be an alternative diagnosis

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

Lung cancer: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Lung cancer may include these medical conditions:

Rare Types of Lung cancer:

Lung cancer: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Lung cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Lung cancer

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less severe possibilities. Some level of memory decline is normal with aging, and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's. Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness. For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly harmless. see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

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.

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50. See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of the chronic lung diseases with diagnostic difficulties include asthma (perhaps surprisingly), COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, mesothelioma, smoker's cough, AIDS-related respiratory conditions (see AIDS), chronic pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Rare possibilities include diseases like psittacosis (bird-related lung infection). See other types of chronic lung diseases.

Lung cancer: Rare Types

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

Failure To Diagnose Lung cancer

Failure to diagnose Lung cancer may be associated with the following:

  • Many cases of lung cancer remain undiagnosed for long periods of time as the early stages of lung cancer often cause no symptoms. Diagnosis of lung cancer in the early stages usually only occurs when it is discovered in a routine chest CT scan or x-ray
  • Many symptoms of lung cancer such as fever, weight loss and bone pain are rather non-specific which makes it more difficult to diagnose. Patients with other chronic illnesses are also less likely to have the lung cancer diagnosed despite the presence of symptoms. For example, bone pain in the elderly often does not ring any alarm bells
  • Failure to diagnose lung cancer greatly impairs the prognosis
  • Lung cancer is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed due to the fact that if it does cause symptoms, the symptoms can vary considerably from patient to patient. There are no definitively characteristic symptoms for lung cancer. Only appropriate testing can allow a diagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis can lead to the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body (brain, bone, liver, adrenal gland) which can lead to more serious symptoms such as nerve and muscle problems, bone pain, confusion, fits and an enlarged liver
  • Lung cancer is considered particularly lethal as the lack of early symptoms usually means diagnosis does not occur until the later stages of the cancer
  • Lung cancer is often not considered as a possible diagnosis in symptomatic people who don't smoke due to the strong association of smoking as a cause of lung cancer
  • Another relatively common cause of undiagnosed or delayed diagnosis of lung cancer is the misinterpretation of chest x-rays by either the radiologist or the primary care physician. Sometimes reports are lost or doctor fail to act on the information or patients fail to attend a follow-up visit
  • Sometimes, a diagnosis of lung cancer is only made at autopsy after a person has died - this is more likely in older people.

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Lung cancer

The following may be hidden causes of Lung cancer:

  • Smoking is considered the major risk factor in the development of lung disease with passive smoking also implicated
  • Air pollution from factories, vehicles, power plants and other sources are also risk factors for the development of lung cancer
  • Other factors that increase the risk of lung cancer is: asbestos exposure, exposure to carcinogens, radon exposure, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and occupational exposure to aromatic hydrocarbons, nickel, arsenic, arsenic, iron oxides and chromium
  • Increasing evidence suggests the prior lung disease may be a risk factor for developing lung cancer. Thus, patients with lung diseases such as tuberculosis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis face a greater risk of developing lung cancer. Asthma and pneumonia may also increase the risk but to a lesser degree
  • There is ongoing research and debate to establish whether there is any link between allergy-related diseases such as hayfever. Some studies indicate that allergies increase the risk of lung cancer, other indicate that allergies protect again lung cancer and yet others suggest that there is no link at all
  • Exposure to certain substances such as asbestos may occur many years prior to the development of the lung cancer. A careful analysis of the person's history may determine the source of exposure which may have occurred through something as seemingly harmless as renovating an old house. Asbestos may have been present in the building material of the old house
  • A person who has already had lung cancer faces an increased risk of developing it again

Complications Of Misdiagnosis Of Lung cancer

The following may be complications of misdiagnosis of Lung cancer:

  • Respiratory problems (cough, shortness of breath and wheezing) caused by lung cancer may be misdiagnosed as a respiratory infectious disease such as tuberculosis, bronchitis or pneumonia. The respiratory complaints have also been misdiagnosed as asthmatic bronchitis and rhinitis
  • Coughing associated with lung cancer is often misdiagnosed as a respiratory infection or even completely dismissed as harmless
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes that occur as a complication of lung cancer often produce misleading symptoms that make diagnosis more difficult. Paraneoplastic syndromes include hypercalcemia, Cushing's syndrome, carcinoid syndrome, dermatomyositis, progressive vision loss, cerebellar degeneration and encephalitis

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Lung cancer:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Lung cancer:

Misdiagnosis and Lung cancer deaths

Lung 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 Lung cancer or confirming a diagnosis of Lung 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 Lung cancer may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Lung cancer. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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