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Researcher looks into misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer

Many patients in New York with pancreatic cancer may have been previously misdiagnosed with a different disease. A surgery resident at the University of Utah conducted a study on the misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer and found that the problem is common. The researcher also found that pancreatic cancer patients who are initially misdiagnosed have greater rates of adverse symptoms.

After looking at the medical records of 313 patients who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the researcher found that about 31 percent of the patients had been previously misdiagnosed. The vast majority of the patients who were initially misdiagnosed received incorrect diagnoses of gallbladder disease. Some of the other misdiagnoses were gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer disease.

Patients who were misdiagnosed initially were more likely to have late-stage pancreatic cancer when they finally received a correct diagnosis, according to the study. In fact, 40 percent of the patients who were misdiagnosed initially were later correctly diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The misdiagnosed patients also suffered from more abdominal pain, weight loss and vomiting than the patients who were not misdiagnosed. The study author said that surgeons should consider the possibility of pancreatic cancer in patients that have vague or atypical symptoms when they are referred for a cholecystectomy.

When a cancer patient is initially misdiagnosed, the cancer may be allowed to spread. The patient may also suffer side effects from unnecessary medications and treatments that they are prescribed for a condition that they do not have. An attorney may be able to help a patient who was injured by a delayed cancer diagnosis to file a medical malpractice claim.

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