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Entrepreneur's test identifies father's cancer

Although New York men may be encouraged to go through screenings for prostate cancer as they reach ages at which this disease is a serious risk, PSA testing can miss some cases. Unfortunately, false negative results could allow the condition to go undiagnosed. In cases of aggressive forms of the cancer, the consequences of a missed diagnosis could be deadly.

Innovation in testing for cancer proved helpful in the case of an entrepreneur and his father. The entrepreneur's startup company is working in an area of biotech research that is targeting diagnostics of cancers with blood samples rather than through tissue biopsies. When his father's PSA test showed no sign of prostate cancer, he offered to use his own test to confirm the results. As it happened, his father actually had an aggressive form of the disease, which could have been deadly. The test caught the cancer so that timely treatment could begin. As research in this area continues, the cost and convenience of these blood tests could minimize the risk of a delayed cancer diagnosis for some of the most serious types of the disease.

Routine screenings do not always identify cancer, which can result in the untimely deaths of people who might have otherwise survived. In some cases, however, cancer might be missed because of a physician's failing to recognize symptoms that suggest the possibility. Prompt treatment can often make the difference between life and death, which makes the attentiveness of health care professionals a significant concern.

A family dealing with the untimely loss of a loved one because of a failure to diagnose a particular disease might wonder about pursuing a medical malpractice action against a physician or health care facility. A lawyer experienced in this area of practice might review the deceased patient's hospital records and obtain the opinion of medical experts in order to determine whether such failure constituted negligence.

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