The Painful Truth About Cancer Misdiagnosis

Every year at your physical exam, mammogram, or colonoscopy, you wait anxiously for the results, hoping to hear the word negative. When the opposite happens and the doctor utters the word positive, your life changes forever. 

But then your doctor tells you that it’s been positive for awhile. You listen while he tells you of the signs, the things he told you not to worry about before. He should have caught it much earlier, and prevented the drastic steps you now need to take.

Reasons Patients Are Misdiagnosed

Cancer misdiagnosis is a particularly harmful form of medical malpractice in Virginia.  Patients are misdiagnosed for a number of reasons, most commonly:

  • When a malignant tumor is diagnosed as non-cancerous.
  • Improper lab testing.
  • Mistaken interpretation of the pathology report.
  • Failure to make a referral to a specialist or second physician.
  • Failure to perform adequate follow-up testing.
  • Failure to identify a patient’s conditions as possible symptoms.

Your physician has a responsibility to follow up on any of your physical complaints with thorough and timely care. If he was dismissive or unconcerned with your ailments because they seemed to be common occurrences, then he may be unaware that common complaints can have drastic consequences. For instance:

SymptomsPossible Cancer Diagnosis
MigrainesBrain Cancer
Fibrocycstic breastsBreast Cancer
Urinary Tract InfectionBladder Cancer
BronchitisLung Cancer
HemorrhoidsColon Cancer

It is hard to believe that doctors could miss something as life-altering as cancer during a routine exam. Unfortunately, many early warning signs get diagnosed as commonplace conditions rather than symptoms of cancer. As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we have seen patients treated each year for depression and chronic fatigue, never realizing that these signs of cancer should have led to early detection. 

Undergoing Unnecessary Surgery

The opposite diagnosis can be just as traumatic. When a physician diagnoses a benign lesion as malignant, a patient will often undergo unnecessary surgery, uncomfortable procedures, and prolonged recovery, only to discover that he never had cancer in the first place. Regardless of how the mistake was made, a Virginia cancer misdiagnosis means undue pain and suffering for the patient.

Get Help From a Local Malpractice Lawyer Today

If your cancer diagnosis was missed due to physician negligence, incompetence, or error, then contact our office today at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation about your Virginia medical malpractice case.


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  • Serving Virginia & D.C. Since 1986

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