How To Avoid the Seven Most Common Cancer Errors

Whenever you feel ill, achy, or tired, you want to know the reason behind it as soon as possible. However, sometimes it’s hard to find the correct diagnosis, especially when the symptoms are unclear or too common such as in cancer. Sometimes, a medical expert can also come up with a disease misdiagnosis. It’s hard to tell the exact number of medical cases misdiagnosed every year. Still, a rough estimate through studies of autopsies shows a 10% to 15% of diagnosis error rate. Another recent study showed that the top five health conditions mostly misdiagnosed are breast cancer, heart attack, colon cancer, and lung cancer.

Since not everyone has a doctor in their home for a better diagnosis, here are seven things you must do to avoid the most typical cancer errors.

Don’t Rely on Technology for Right Diagnosis

Today, the best medical technology is available to help the healthcare industry. However, it is no more successful than a doctor gathering your family history and low-tech testing in determining the accurate diagnosis. A high-tech test might be fast in making a diagnosis, but it’s not always accurate. Some rare cancer forms, such as mesothelioma, occur decades after exposure to asbestos-containing materials, and its diagnosis can be tricky. A doctor can help you understand the real cause behind such cancer forms more than technology. A doctor will give you proper time to tell your symptoms and, after that, think about your case seriously to put all the pieces together to reach a final diagnosis. That is the reason that you must always trust your doctor more than technology.

Note Down Every Symptom

Every little detail is essential when it comes to your health condition. However, there are many cases where patients forget to tell the doctors about each symptom. That’s where the possibility of misdiagnosis increases. You need to ensure that you’ve noted down everything on a paper you want to ask or talk about to your doctor.

Also, it’s a good practice to bring paper and a pen to your visit to the doctor so that you don’t miss anything important. For example, suppose you learn anything alarming, such as the chance of cancer or a tumor. In that case, you are likely to disregard other information from your doctor so write down as much as you can. If the doctor makes electronic medical records, you can ask them to copy their notes on your way back home.

Know Your Family Medical History

Inform or brief the doctor about your family medical history. Do not expect your doctors to recall that you told them about your family’s history of breast cancer or brain blood vessel malformations. Various research has indicated that a family medical history can be a great predictor of disease compared to genetic testing. Every doctor needs to know everything about their family history, note it down, and ensure your doctor knows all about it. 

Describe All Your Symptoms, But Never Conclude

Every patient should tell their doctor about their experience and never make any assumptions about their health. Suppose you experience ear pain and simply tell your doctor that you have an ear infection. In that case, you may be overlooking other crucial causes of your ear discomfort, such as a tooth abscess or TMJ disorder. It’s always better to keep a bigger path and allow your doctor to entertain every possibility. More accurate but inadequate information is much better than definitive but wrong information.

Get Your Appointment with Experienced Specialists

You need to make a list together of every task that’s been completed so far, such as any medical test that you have taken, MRI, X-rays, or blood work, and make duplicates of them. You are entitled to all your medical records. To do that, call a healthcare provider you’ve visited before and request authorization to permit the release of an information form. Law may be different in different states, but many facilities are authorized to charge an appropriate amount for copying the records and sending them.

Be Particular About Your Sign and Symptoms

Try to be precise about what you are experiencing. If you have sharp pain, shooting pain, or a dull one? Do you feel it after eating? How long does it take to vanish, a few seconds, minutes, or hours? How long has it been since you’re experiencing that, a week, a month, or even more? Also, try to turn that subjective information into an objective. For example, check your temperature for about a week every night and note down all that information if you have a fever. That way, you can tell your doctor that you had headaches six times a month, and they weren’t lessened by medication. They lasted three hours, and you had nausea as well. Then your doctor will be better positioned to ask more questions if he had to and give you a better diagnosis and treatment plan.

Question More And More

Never be scared to ask your doctor what they require to make the right diagnosis. You may need to ask them what they need to reach the bottom of your problem. Ask them about their differential (could be a list of) diagnoses and if they need to involve other experts, methods, or tests to help them make a final diagnosis.

Also, as an anxious patient, you might want to find out when your next visit is and what information to bring to help your doctor diagnose your problem. Your doctor might suggest you see another specialist, so you need to stay prepared for everything. Once you get your diagnosis, don’t hesitate to second guess the doctor. Ask them if they are sure about your diagnosis or what makes them think that you have that condition.

You can also seek a second opinion, and that is perfectly fine. Find the best specialist related to your diagnosis to get the right treatment and quick recovery.


Several factors lead to misdiagnosis of a disease that you are experiencing. The most common problem while making a diagnosis is the lack of accurate information about the patient’s symptoms. Sometimes the sufferers can’t explain their symptoms properly. Other times, the doctor fails to distinguish between different diseases due to similar signs leading to misdiagnosis. Be clear about your symptoms and ask multiple questions from your doctor to get the correct diagnosis and better treatment.

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