For most of us, cancer is the scariest test result. A disease like cancer, which can be so debilitating and deadly, is typically the worst-case scenario in a medical situation. When physicians diagnose cancer, they should be sure that they are using the correct test to verify the illness before going forward with treatment. Otherwise, a person could be harmed by unnecessary medical intervention.
Every test comes with a unique set of rules and instructions. A physician should be familiar with the individual tests that they employ for diagnosis of illness, especially terminal diseases. If the physician doesn’t do this, you could be irreversibly harmed; for example, you could suffer the effects of chemotherapy or even have organs removed. Even if you don’t have a terminal disease, a misdiagnosis can leave a lasting effect.
Certain blood levels are an indicator of cancer. For example, a person who has a high level of the hormone HCG may have a rare cancerous tumor. The tumor associated with HCG is a gestational trophoblastic tumor. This type of cancer can be deadly if left untreated but shows a positive response to chemotherapy when caught and treated early.
False positives possible
When a woman goes to a physician for a pregnancy test, the test measures for the HCG hormone. If the test shows high HCG, a physician will then order an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy by locating the fetus. If the ultrasound does not locate a fetus, then the physician will investigate the cause of the elevated hormone levels in the body. A cancer diagnosis is one reason for the elevation, but not the only one. Certain individuals have natural substances in their blood that will give a false positive to this test. This irregularity can occur in up to 10 percent of the population.
Physicians fail to test properly
A pregnancy test is not a cancer test. Makers of a certain pregnancy test have reported that their product is FDA approved to gauge pregnancy and nothing else. If a physician suspects cancer, he or she usually takes the least harmful route of confirming the presence of cancer, and that usually means confirming with a second type of cancer screen. If you were harmed because a doctor jumped from an initial test reading to surgery and chemotherapy without exhausting other means of analyzing for the presence of the disease, you may have been injured unnecessarily.