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Scientific advances reveal pediatric cancer misdiagnoses

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2018 | Medical Malpractice

Pennsylvania residents may be concerned to learn that many traditional methods used to diagnose cancerous brain tumors in children can be flawed. Due to mistaken diagnoses, some children have received incorrect treatments. Errors in cancer diagnosis can be particularly problematic because cancer is a progressive disease, so a delay in correct treatment can mean a loss of health and even life. New scientific advances that allow doctors to examine the molecular profile of a tumor have enhanced the ability to correctly diagnose these cancers.

Researchers have urged other pediatric specialists to use these newer tests to diagnose brain cancers. In addition, families should insist on these DNA methylation tests in order to avoid dangerous misdiagnoses. Doctors should remember that different tumors can look alike under a microscope but require different forms of treatment.

A recent study investigated the problems with properly diagnosing a type of cancerous tumor called CNS-PNET. The researchers found that the catchall term of CNS-PNET obscured the fact that there were multiple different types of brain cancers with a similar appearance. They could be differentiated only based on their molecular profile. The study confirmed the belief that pediatric brain tumors were more complex and diverse than originally thought. During the study, 31 patients with CNS-PNET were studied, and 22 of them were found to have different types of cancer instead. As a result, their treatment regimens were adjusted.

When patients are diagnosed incorrectly, the cost for patients and their families can be significant. They may have received incorrect treatment and lost valuable time as the disease progressed. A medical malpractice attorney can consult with a patient who was misdiagnosed and explain ways to take legal action.