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Cancer patients do better with good information

Sep 22, 2015 | Failure to Diagnose

New York residents may be surprised to learn how common medical misdiagnoses can be. In 2014, a study found that about 28 percent of information given to patients is incorrect. With certain types of cancers, those numbers skyrocket. A 2013 study found that as many as 75 percent of results for mammograms and more than 70 percent of lung cancer scans were incorrect in some way.

The potential negative effects for cancer patients are not limited to a misdiagnosis. Another study has found that when given accurate information about their condition, cancer patients fare better. Researchers discovered that when patients received information that was detailed and correct, they were twice as likely to survive as patients who were not as well-informed.

There was one exception, and that was in the case of information about side effects. Researchers found that patients had a 35 percent chance of a less positive outcome in that case. They surmised that this was because it caused added stress on the patients and their immune systems. Earlier research has shown that while depression leads to negative outcomes, optimism does not increase survival rates. Patients who survive tend to be realistic about their condition.

This study demonstrates that while an accurate initial diagnosis is necessary, in order to get the best care, patients must also be able to communicate effectively with their medical professional and receive accurate information about their treatment. A medical professional who fails to do this may negatively impact the patient’s recovery. In some cases, patients might feel that a medical professional or an institution has been negligent in their care, leading to a worsening of their conditions. Those who find themselves in this type of a situation may want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney to determine if there is any recourse available .