Because so many medical conditions improve considerably with early detection, a missed or inaccurate diagnosis can mean the difference between a full recovery and no recovery at all. Doctors, like all humans, are not immune to error, but medical errors can have catastrophic effects on your health and your ability to get better.
Doctors commonly misdiagnose certain medical conditions more than others, so if you have any reason to suspect that what your doctor told you may not be true, trust your instincts. After all, you are the only one who truly understands and experiences your symptoms, so if you question your doctor’s diagnosis, you should, at least, consider seeking a second opinion. So, what types of medical conditions do today’s physicians frequently make mistakes about?
Some forms of cancer
Certain cancers can prove difficult to detect, but when a doctor misses a cancer diagnosis or issues one too late, it can leave time for cancer to spread to other parts of the body. The prognosis among cancer patients typically improves with early detection, so a missed or delayed cancer diagnosis can have a considerable impact on your health and your chances of improving over time. Breast cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers are three types that doctors often miss or diagnose too late.
Heart attacks and strokes
Medical providers can fail to act when patients exhibit symptoms indicative of a heart attack or stroke. Part of the problem with heart attacks is that they can affect people differently, so doctors sometimes have trouble identifying the cause of certain symptoms. Doctors may also make delayed diagnoses for strokes. Sometimes, the symptoms associated with strokes mimic those associated with migraine headaches, which can lead to confusion and inaccurate diagnoses.
A missed or delayed diagnosis can have tremendous consequences, so it is imperative that you listen to your gut if you question your doctor’s words. Securing a second opinion just may save your life.