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An accurate cancer diagnosis requires more than a single test

A primary responsibility of medical doctors and diagnosticians is to ensure the diagnosis given to patients is as accurate as reasonably possible. When cancer is suspected, these health care professionals must do all they can to ensure they have arrived at the correct diagnosis.

Some types of cancer may mimic other, less severe health problems. For example, breast cancer can also look like benign tumors and inflammatory conditions. If your doctor diagnosed your illness as something minor, you could benefit from additional diagnostic procedures.

What are some of the testing methods for cancer?

Unfortunately, there is no single diagnostic procedure for uncovering cancer in a patient. Instead, medical professionals rely on several tests to deliver an accurate diagnosis. Some of these diagnostic procedures include:

  • Chemical diagnostics. In the lab, technicians and doctors can analyze blood and urine to look for tumor markers and other evidence of cancer.

  • Diagnostic imaging. Mammograms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bone scans are three examples of imaging tests used to diagnose cancer.

  • Endoscopic exams. By inserting an endoscope, medical personnel can look inside the body for visual evidence of cancer.

  • Tumor biopsies. Doctors may remove a portion of patient tumors and test them to determine if cancer is present or if the tumor is benign.

The consequences of an incorrect diagnosis in cancer patients are many. Patients do not typically receive the correct treatment after a misdiagnosis. They may also be placed on unnecessary treatments that could worsen their condition.

If you have cancer, but your healthcare provider performed only minimal testing (delaying your treatment options), you may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Becoming familiar with Virginia medical malpractice laws can help you discover your next steps towards a legal remedy.


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