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Misdiagnosis of nonmelanoma skin cancer

Ohio residents may be interested to learn about a recent study that shows many children and adults who develop nonmelanoma skin cancers often have risk factors for their development. Doctors need to be aware of these risk factors so that they do not later misdiagnose a cancerous or noncancerous skin lesion and so the patient can be counseled about their risks.

According to the article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a review of the medical charts for 28 young adults and children who were all under the age of 22 revealed several things. They had been diagnosed with 182 nonmelanoma skin cancers between the years of 1993 and 2014. The researchers found that many of the subjects had conditions that predisposed them to developing the cancers.

Nearly half were found to have iatrogenic risks, including previously receiving immonosuppression treatments, prescriptions for voriconazole or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. The average length of time for diagnosis of the cancers from the date the lesion first appeared until it was diagnosed was a shocking 948 days. The authors found that 36 percent of the patients were initially misdiagnosed with having other skin disorders, meaning they did not receive the cancer treatment they needed for a significant period of time.

A misdiagnosis can have very serious consequences. People who are not diagnosed correctly may not receive early treatment that could potentially save their lives. When a doctor fails to diagnose something as serious as cancer in its early stages, the disease can spread rapidly, and the person's chance for survival may significantly decrease as a result. In the event that a person dies due to such a diagnostic failure, surviving family members may want to meet with an attorney about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent practitioner.

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