Survey Finds Doctors Underestimate Cancer Misdiagnosis Rates

Cancer misdiagnosis rates are higher than many doctors realize, according to a recent survey by Best Doctors and the National Coalition on Health Care.

The joint survey found that 60.5 percent of doctors participating estimated that cancer misdiagnosis occurs 0-10 percent of the time; another 33 percent thought it happened 10-20 percent of the time. However, other studies have put the rate of cancer misdiagnosis as between 15 percent to 28 percent, according to The American Journal of Medicine and BMJ Quality and Safety respectively.

The survey also asked doctors for their thoughts as to why misdiagnosis of cancer occurs. Slight more than 38 percent pointed to “fragmented or missing information across medical information systems,” while 22 percent blamed “inadequate pathology diagnostic resources.”

Respondents identified the top misdiagnosed cancers as lymphoma, breast cancer, sarcomas, melanoma, and cancer of an unknown site, according to the survey.

Around 400 top-ranked pathologists, medical oncologists, and surgical oncologists from around the country participated in the survey.

It is estimated that 41 percent of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is one of the keys to a successful outcome. Failure to diagnose cancer may be considered a form of medical malpractice.

If a doctor failed to diagnose your cancer or that of a loved one, contact Sokolove Law for a free consultation to find out if a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you.


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