Dealing with a misdiagnosis of cancer can be incredibly stressful. A patient might be told they have when cancer when, in fact, they don’t. Alternatively, a patient’s symptoms might be wrongly interpreted as benign or fail to be considered as a potential cancer by a medical professional.
As well as obvious health implications such as failure to start treatment at the right time, endured suffering due to symptoms and even poorer long-term outlooks, there are also emotional stresses to cope with too. These can include anger, fear, depression and severe anxiety.
It’s also possible for a cancer misdiagnosis to affect a patient’s finances too, especially if they’re unable to work or need extended time off to deal with the physical effects, treatment and mental health factors. This can be even more of a worry if the patient has a family and dependants to take care of.
If you’ve been affected by a cancer misdiagnosis, you’ll want to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and start appropriate treatment to avoid any further delays.
Regardless of the reason for the misdiagnosis, it might be helpful to consider the following pieces of advice:
Get a second opinion
Dealing with a misdiagnosis can destroy the trust between you and your medical team so, in many situations, it can be helpful to seek a second opinion. This way you’ll know for sure the extent of your condition. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a referral to another professional, especially if you have a rare illness or you believe you need more specialised care.
Maintain all health records
Keeping all reports, test results and diagnoses can be helpful for many reasons, such as if you switch consultants or doctors. The outcome of any investigations is also likely to inform the treatment you have.
Keeping these records is also important should you decide to make a claim for your misdiagnosis.
Make a legal claim
Some patients might choose to make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis via a professional medical negligence solicitor. Seeking compensation can help cover costs relating to loss of income, childcare, treatment and even counselling.
Seek support from family and friends
Talking your situation through with family and friends can help you deal with the misdiagnosis. Whether you’re seeking practical help such as asking someone to look after the kids while you have appointments or you simply need to get things off your chest, being open and honest about your problems can offer some relief.
Finally, if you feel like you’re really struggling to cope, it might be worth getting some professional mental health support from a specialist charity or organisation.