Visual Skin Cancer Screenings Can Lead to Misdiagnoses

Every year, many Connecticut residents undergo visual cancer screening by their doctors in order to determine if suspicious-looking moles and other apparent skin abnormalities are cancerous. While these types of screenings are quite common, a governmental agency has just released a report indicating that the screenings may lead to misdiagnosis of cancer.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force sees little benefit in these types of screenings, especially for adults who are otherwise asymptomatic. Instead, upon a review of the evidence, researchers found that it did not prove sufficient enough to be able to analyze the benefits and risks of these screenings. The researchers did not find that the evidence demonstrated that such full-body screenings reduced the rate of death in patients who suffered from basal cell carcinoma or melanoma.

The National Cancer Institute has estimated that 74,000 people have been or will be newly diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, and more than 9,900 people will die. The USPSTF further found that many instances of misdiagnosis occur, leading people to receive unneeded treatment that can lead to permanent scars and other adverse effects.

A cancer misdiagnosis can be especially dangerous for people. They may end up receiving unneeded surgery and undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation treatment that can cause real damage to them due to the side effects. People who receive a cancer diagnosis following a visual screening may want to ask for further tests. They may also want to seek out a second opinion to make certain treatment is truly needed. Those who have been misdiagnosed and who have been harmed as a result of receiving unneeded treatment may want to speak with an attorney to discuss whether the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit would be an appropriate way of seeking compensation for the damages that have been incurred.