Health care professionals use CT scans as a diagnostic tool for multiple types of cancer, including lung cancer. However, a CT scan can be wrong about cancer. This type of testing may miss the presence of lung cancer or produce false positives that can lead to unnecessary and expensive additional testing.
Understanding CT Scans
CT is short for computerized tomography. CT scans are sometimes referred to as CAT scans. Using CT scans, healthcare workers are able to obtain information about what is happening inside of the body without having to operate.
How CT Scans Are Used to Diagnose Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), CT scans provide a clearer picture of a patient’s organs, bones, and soft tissues than a standard x-ray. In cancer diagnoses, a CT scan can detect the presence of abnormal cell growth and pinpoint a tumor’s shape, size, and location. Doctors can use continued CT imaging to monitor a tumor’s growth, see if treatment is shrinking a tumor, or check for the recurrence of a tumor.
CT scans can be used on virtually any part of the body, and full-body scans are available. This type of testing is often used to detect:
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
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When a CT Scan Is Wrong About Cancer
When a CT scan fails to detect the presence of cancer, it can mean a delay in treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. Some lung cancers may be easier to treat in their early stages, and early diagnosis may mean treatment can begin before the cancer spreads (metastasizes).
Sometimes, a CT scan may result in false positives. An abnormality on a CT scan may lead to an incorrect diagnosis of cancer. To confirm the scan, your doctor may order additional tests, such as a biopsy. If it turns out the CT scan was wrong, you have now undergone an expensive and unneeded procedure.
CT Scans Pose Health Risks
CT scans may have negative side effects. To help get a clearer picture, some doctors may have patients take a contrast dye. An allergic reaction to the dye is possible, with symptoms including nausea, rash, and shortness of breath. Rarely, patients experience more serious side effects, such as a drop in blood pressure or kidney problems.
According to the American Cancer Society, CT scans expose patients to more radiation than X-rays. They may also cost up to 10 times as much. It is important to make sure a CT scan is the most reliable, safest option for diagnosing the type of lung cancer your doctor suspects you may have. You want to ensure you are getting the most accurate diagnosis possible, as well as not needlessly undergoing a CT or any other procedure.
More About Missed or Wrong Diagnoses
If you believe your CT scan was wrong about your lung cancer, you are not alone. The Journal of Clinical Oncology found that cancer misdiagnosis may happen close to 30% of the time. This could be due to scanning errors or a misinterpretation of the scans by your oncologist. If either of these is the case, you could have legal options.
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What You Can Do if a CT Scan Was Wrong About Lung Cancer
If you had a CT scan that failed to find the presence of lung cancer, or if a CT scan wrongfully diagnosed an abnormality as cancer, you may be able to sue for your damages. If a health care provider’s negligence caused you to suffer physical, emotional, or financial harm, you might have grounds for a civil lawsuit.
If your lung cancer worsened because of a failed diagnosis, an attorney could help you seek costs related to your initial diagnostic testing, as well as additional and future medical care. You may also seek compensation for time lost at work because of testing, treatments, and recovery.
You may be eligible for awards for your pain and suffering. Whether an incorrect diagnosis delayed your treatments or you received a false positive, a lawyer may be able to help you win compensation for your stress, anxiety, physical suffering, and mental and emotional anguish.
If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Our firm has fought for clients across the country, and we never collect a fee unless we win your case. Call our team at (800) 217-6099.