Risks of Serious Injury After a False Positive Cancer Diagnosis


You may feel overcome with relief when you learn that a physician gave you a false positive diagnosis of cancer. However, as you reflect upon the last few months or years that you have been undergoing treatment, you will soon realize the adverse consequences your health and well-being have suffered. Unfortunately, this scenario is more common than you would expect. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the rate of false positive cancer diagnosis could be as high as 97%, though other evidence indicates it may be lower.

When you think back upon the harsh, painful treatment for cancer and how it impacted your life, you might wonder about your rights as a patient. An Alaska medical malpractice lawyer can provide detailed information, but an overview may be useful.


Types of Treatment for Cancer

Oncologists and other physicians determine treatment for cancer based upon numerous factors, including the type, stage, and your current state of health. Health care providers may opt to treat you through:

  • Surgery: If a cancerous tumor is detected early and it has not started to affect other parts of the body, your doctor may determine that surgery is the best option. Still, it is not suitable for all types of cancer or in situations where a patient would suffer from the removal of too much tissue.
  • Radiation Therapy: Like surgery, radiation is intended to target and eliminate specific cancerous cells. The process involves aiming doses of high-energy pulses, using technology similar to an x-ray – except that the patient is exposed to a significantly more potent radiation.
  • Chemotherapy: Medications can be targeted to shrink or kill off cancerous cells throughout the body, so chemo is often an option when the disease has spread. It is especially effective where radiation and surgery would not sufficiently eliminate all traces of cancer. Chemo is usually administered intravenously through a series of injections or an infusion into the bloodstream.


Side Effects of Cancer Treatment can Cause Serious Harm for Patients

The point of cancer treatment is to kill or remove affected cells, so it is obvious that there will be extensive consequences for each strategy. Surgery removes the cancerous tumor, potentially affecting healthy tissues and organs surrounding it.

Chemotherapy is intended to eliminate or reduce cancer through what are essentially poisonous, toxic chemicals. As such, treatment can lead to hair loss, fatigue, infection, and a tendency to bruise easily. Plus, digestive issues and vomiting can result in significant weight loss for the patient.

Radiation therapy also leads to adverse consequences, but the effects depend on the area of the body the rays are targeting. You may experience:

  • Skin blistering and peeling;
  • Hair loss;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Trouble swallowing; and,
  • Many other side effects.


Set Up a Consultation With an Alaska Medical Malpractice Attorney

Even after you receive the good news that you do not have it, you have still suffered considerably from a medical error in diagnosing cancer. For more information about your legal options through a medical malpractice action, please contact Power & Power Law to schedule a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Anchorage, Alaska. We can provide additional details once we review your unique circumstances.