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False-Positive Cancer Misdiagnosis: Risks of Unnecessary Care

By Karnas Law Firm |

Finding out that you have cancer likely raises feelings of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety, so it is disturbing to learn how often Arizona health care providers commit serious errors with diagnosing this medical condition. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that around 46 percent of all mistakes in ambulatory care involve cancer misdiagnosis, with the most common being lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers. Some forms of the disease are highly treatable, so it is concerning that a patient loses valuable time that could have been dedicated to proper cancer care.

Still, not many people consider the consequences with another form of diagnostic error: A false-positive diagnosis of cancer. You might be relieved initially, until you recall what you went through physically, financially, and emotionally as you received care that was completely unnecessary – and possibly quite harmful. It is wise to discuss your legal remedies with a Tucson medical negligence lawyer under such circumstances, but some general information is helpful.

Harsh Medical Treatment for Cancer

The medical community has made amazing strides and innovations with cancer care, and new technologies are always emerging. However, many forms of treatment that are strong enough to kill cancer cells also cause substantial, physical stress on the human body. With some, the effects are the objective of the procedure; in others, the implications are a side effect of treatment. Some common cancer care strategies used by healthcare providers include:

  • Surgery: There are risks associated with any invasive procedure, including infection and issues with anesthesia. When the cancer is a tumor or localized to a specific area, surgery may be the most effective option.
  • Chemotherapy: Extremely powerful drugs can kill some forms of cancer, but the chemicals also impact normal, healthy cells. The cells in the mouth and reproductive system are often affected because of the route of administration, but hair loss and reproductive issues are also possible.
  • Radiation Therapy: This type of cancer treatment involves a high dosage of x-rays to shrink or kill a tumor. Radiation can lead to blistering, peeling, open sores, and bleeding around the skin where the rays are directed.

Legal Remedies for False-Positive Cancer Misdiagnosis

Health care providers can be held liable under Arizona medical malpractice laws if they treat someone in a way that deviates from the applicable medical standard of care. For false-positive cancer misdiagnosis, you may have a claim if your doctor did not order proper lab screenings, misread test results, or disregard key symptoms. You may be entitled to recover damages for:

  • Medical care to address effects of harsh cancer care treatment;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Emotional distress.

A Tucson, AZ Medical Negligence Attorney Will Fight for Your Rights

It may be a relief to learn that an Arizona health care provider issued a false-positive cancer diagnosis, but the treatment experience can have serious ramification. For additional details on misdiagnosis as medical malpractice, please contact Karnas Law Firm, PLLC. You can schedule a complimentary case review with an experienced lawyer by calling (520) 462-2593 or visiting our website.