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Study looks at accuracy of cancer test

Sep 13, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

When New York men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, doctors might also use a test known as prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography imaging to determine whether the cancer has metastasized. When PSMA is detected as a highly expressive enzyme in tissue, it can be an indication that the cancer is spreading.

However, studies have also shown that PSMA may be expressive in benign tissue as well. A study published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine examined 407 patients and PSMA-ligand uptake in coeliac, cervical and sacral ganglia. Researchers found similar results with PSMA appearing in benign tissue. If this leads to a misdiagnosis, there could be a change in the treatment the patient is receiving, and this could be harmful.

Despite these limitations, researchers urged medical professionals not to abandon the test. Instead, they said the results should be coordinated with configuring and localizing the areas to get a more accurate understanding of whether the PSMA expressiveness is benign or indicates cancer.

A misdiagnosis can be catastrophic for some patients, leading to the wrong treatment and significantly affecting the patient’s health. It could even be fatal. Treatments for cancer and other illnesses also have side effects, so it could be harmful for a person to undergo these for no reason. Another type of misdiagnosis could be if a doctor fails to diagnose an illness and sends a patient away without treatment.

While some conditions take time to diagnose and a process of elimination must be followed, a patient who receives negligent medical treatment may be a victim of medical malpractice. People who are in this situation may want to talk to an attorney about whether medical malpractice has occurred and what recourse might be available.