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How common is cancer misdiagnosis?

Medical providers are educated and knowledgeable, but even the brightest of doctors can sometimes make mistakes. You may find yourself in the same boat as many people in Pennsylvania who have been recently diagnosed with cancer and wonder if there could be a mistake. Or you may belong to the group of people who believe they do have cancer but have been told by their practitioner that they do not. Unfortunately, the reality is that cancer misdiagnosis is much more common than you may think.


ABC News reports that The John Hopkins Hospital performed studies to determine just how often cancer was being misdiagnosed. Their study found that tissue from the breast, skin, prostate and female reproductive tract was most commonly mistaken. Out of the 6,000 study samples, it was revealed that cancer cases were misclassified 20 percent of the time. Diagnosing the wrong form of cancer can lead to unnecessary surgery or delayed treatments that may cost you your life.


Additionally, one case in every 71 was found to be misdiagnosed. Some of these cases were labeled as cancerous when they were actually benign. Scientists claimed that the fact that some pathologists have more general experience means that they are more likely to misdiagnose a small cluster of cells as cancerous when it is not.


While researchers recommend that patients seek a second opinion in any cancer diagnosis, there is also much that can be done to improve the methods used. For more information on this topic, visit our web page.

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