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Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancers

Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancers

Cancer is a leading cause of death in every country in the world. As devastating as a cancer diagnosis can be, experiencing a delay in treatment due to a cancer misdiagnosis makes things worse. 

In some cases, the symptoms of certain types of cancers mimic those of other diseases. If doctors aren’t diligent or don’t conduct the proper types of testing, they can mistake cancer for a different health problem. 

If your cancer treatment was delayed due to a misdiagnosis, it’s important to discuss your case with a New York City medical malpractice lawyer. You may be entitled to receive compensation. 

Important Cancer Statistics

Here are some key cancer statistics according to the National Cancer Institute:

  • Over 1.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2018.

  • In 2018, an estimated 609,000 people died from cancer.

  • The most common cancers in the United States are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and kidney cancer.

  • Deaths from cancer are higher among men compared to women. Cancer mortality is also higher among African-Americans. Cancer mortality is lowest among women of Asian/Pacific Islander descent.

  • In 2017, the U.S. spent $147.3 billion on medical care related to cancer. Experts expect this to increase as the population ages.

One of the things that makes cancer susceptible to delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis is the fact that there are so many different types of cancer.

Unlike other diseases, cancer can affect the body differently depending on where it forms. Various types of cancer may also call for different treatments. Some types of cancer can grow for years or even decades before they are easily detected. 

Which Cancers Are Misdiagnosed Most Often?

Health experts suspect that some cancers are misdiagnosed more often than others simply because they occur more often. A very rare cancer will probably have comparatively fewer misdiagnoses than cancer that occurs very frequently in the population. 

In other cases, certain types of cancers don’t show any symptoms in the initial stages, which can cause patients to dismiss minor complaints. When they see a doctor, their doctor might diagnose them with a less serious issue, leading to a delay in potentially life-saving treatment.

Breast Cancer

Statistically, about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer is the top cause of cancer in women, and some types of breast cancer are misdiagnosed at higher rates than other kinds of cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a type of cancer that can cause the breast to become red, swollen, and inflamed. Many women don’t associate these symptoms with breast cancer. Likewise, doctors may diagnose these symptoms as other issues in the breast, such as fibrocystic breast disease or mastitis. Misdiagnosis of this type of breast cancer is particularly common among younger women, who have lower breast cancer rates compared to women over 60. 

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer encompasses rectal cancer, colon cancer, and cancers that occur in the lower intestine. It’s common for patients who have colorectal cancer to be misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis. 

Pancreatic Cancer

When patients with pancreatic cancer have symptoms, they tend to occur in the digestive system. As with colorectal cancer, a person with pancreatic cancer might experience symptoms that make a doctor misdiagnose them as having irritable bowel syndrome. They may also be told they have gallstones or pancreatitis. 

Lung Cancer

Together, breast, colorectal, and lung cancer make up 10 percent of all misdiagnosed cancer cases. The symptoms of lung cancer can vary, but many patients experience wheezing and coughing. These symptoms often appear in chest infections, the flu, and the common cold. As a result, patients may not receive a timely diagnosis. Their doctor might tell them they have asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis. This can lead to a delay in treatment.

When patients don’t receive the treatment they need right away, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, where it is often more difficult to treat. In some cases, the person can’t receive any kind of life-saving treatment because the cancer is too widespread. This is a devastating diagnosis for a patient.  

Discuss Your Case with an NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered a delay in your treatment due to a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis involving cancer, you should discuss your options with an experienced New York City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. If your loved one died due to a delay in cancer diagnosis or a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. 

There are strict time limits for filing a medical malpractice claim, so it’s in your best interest to seek help from a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer right away.   

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Medical misdiagnosis lawyer in New York City Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC


Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.

Jonathan C Reiter Law Firm

Jonathan C Reiter Law Firm