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Is cancer misdiagnosis common in children?

According to a new study, traditional methods of diagnosing certain cancers are seriously problematic. Due to this, children are getting the wrong diagnosis and, therefore, incorrect treatment. According to one of the researchers, pediatric tumors can look the same under microscopes, even though they have different biologies and require different treatments.

The flaws were only revealed with the help of new tests that look at the molecular profiles of tumor cells. Brain cancers were generally diagnosed based on where they were located and how they appeared under the microscope, but the study revealed that tumors diagnosed like this could actually be one of many different types of cancers and human experts were missing the diagnosis.

Thirty-one of the patients enrolled in the study had been diagnosed in the traditional manner with the tumors in question, but the study revealed that 22 of them had tumors with such different underlying biologies that they should never have been enrolled in the study at all. The frequency with which cancers were being misdiagnosed was shocking to the researchers.

The outcome of treatment depends on the type of cancer diagnosed and what one actually had-those who were correctly diagnosed and treated responded well, whereas, many of those who were being given medicine for a cancer they did not have did not survive.

The researchers urged more and more doctors to use these new tests to diagnose younger patients to make sure they receive the care they need in a timely manner. Cancer misdiagnosis is a common form of medical malpractice that can have devastating effects on families, especially if timely treatment could have been successful.

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