The Law Offices of John Phebus

Information helps cancer patients in most situations

Arizona residents may be interested to learn that a new study indicates that cancer patients do better with certain types of information about their diagnosis. Unfortunately, older studies also indicate that misdiagnosis among cancer patients is common. Studies in 2013 and 2014 found that while nearly 30 percent of all news is not correct, wrong information is particularly common for some types of cancer. More than 70 percent of mammograms and lung cancer scans had errors.

Since cancer patients with accurate information are two times as likely to survive according to the most recent study, it is important that doctors convey that information correctly. The exception is a patient who is well-informed about possible side effects. A positive outcome was more than 30 percent less likely for those patients. Researchers speculated that knowledge about side effects could be more stressful for the patient.

Yet another study found that cancer patients who fared best were neither depressed nor particularly optimistic but tended to have a realistic view of their situation. Depressed patients were less likely to survive, but optimism does not tend to lead to higher survival rates. Taking all of these studies into account, it appears that patients need competent diagnoses by doctors who are able to accurately communicate an appropriate amount of information.

Given the high rates of misdiagnosis and poor information, this suggests that a patient's health and prognosis could be seriously affected by a doctor's failure to fully understand the patient's illness. People who feel that they may been the victim of this form of possible medical malpractice may want to discuss the situation with an attorney. If the patient decides to file a lawsuit, the medical professional might decide to try to settle out of court. If the case goes to court, whether the medical professional exhibited the requisite standard of care will be the primary issue.

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