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Survival rates of cancer may be affected by information

As North Carolina residents know, a misdiagnosis of a patient who suffers from cancer may have devastating consequences and affect treatment outcome. A study conducted in Boston found the misdiagnosis rate was much higher than previously thought by physicians.

According to the study, lung cancer was initially missed in 71 percent of cases and breast cancer missed in mammograms in 75 percent of cases. In addition, a British study of 10,000 cancer patients found that those patients who were given detailed, complete information about their diagnosis and treatment survived at a rate twice that of patients who were uninformed.

Providing a patient with too much information about possible side effects, however, have a negative effect, lowering the survival rate. Physicians involved in the study reportedly think that because the patient is already stressed from learning of the diagnosis, too much information may increase anxiety. In other words, having a negative attitude may influence survival rates. This is also true among patients who have too optimistic a view. These patients did not show a higher survival rate.

Patients who did best were those who took a realistic approach toward their disease. Many physicians believe that providing enough information of the proper kind is instrumental in getting patients to continue with treatments, while not offering information that can cause anxiety or cause the patients to become overly optimistic can also have a positive effect.

The failure to diagnose an individual with cancer may lead to a delay in treatment and affect the outcome of the disease. A person who is in this situation may wish to consult with an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation in order to determine if it is appropriate to pursue a claim seeking the recovery of damages from the appropriate health care practitioners and facility.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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