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Doctor errors can compromise cancer treatments

The signs and symptoms of many diseases are difficult to identify. It is not uncommon for individuals to misinterpret or ignore seemingly minor symptoms, and many even seek to treat conditions they assume they have without first getting a professional diagnosis. That is why it is the responsibility of New York, New York, physicians to use their experience and skills to properly diagnose and treat patients through objective and thorough examination. There is evidence, however, that trained physicians make medical errors that can seriously delay the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening cancers. One New York Times piece explores the hard truth about honest mistakes and medical malpractice when dealing with cancer.

When asked to estimate the percentage of medical misdiagnoses that occur, doctors participating in one study largely agreed that the number is less than 10 percent. In actuality, however, the National Coalition on Health Care and Best Doctors Inc. estimate that incidents of misdiagnosis may be almost 30 percent. The issue is thought to be especially common in cases involving younger patients. Cancer diagnoses can be delayed in some instances because doctors may not immediately perform the necessary tests in young patients. Furthermore, other factors like inattentiveness on the part of physicians and short visit times are said to contribute to errors in diagnoses and treatments.

[-And while it’s noted that patients themselves can compromise their chances for early cancer detection and therapy, physicians have the knowledge and resources available to identify the symptoms and perform the tests that patients cannot. That’s why some recommend that physicians be held more accountable for mistakes like misdiagnoses and delays in treatment to ensure that they are taken more seriously by everyone in the medical field. 

Source: New York Times, “Missing a Cancer Diagnosis,” Susan Gubar, Jan. 2, 2014

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