When people in New Jersey visit the doctor for ongoing health issues, they want to be able to trust in the physician's ability to provide an accurate diagnosis. When an incorrect diagnosis is made, valuable treatment time can be lost, and people can receive inappropriate medicines or other proposed solutions. If a progressive disease like cancer is involved, patients may even lose their lives due to a failure to diagnose the malignancy.
The risk of misdiagnosis may be particularly great with cancer, like that of the paranasal sinuses. The symptoms of paranasal cancer are similar to those of a number of less devastating illnesses and can include a stuffy nose, eye pain, post-nasal drip, nosebleeds or watery eyes. When a patient goes to the doctor, he or she will ask questions about the illness and check the nose and sinuses. The doctor should also check for pain, swelling and other symptoms in the face as well as nearby lymph nodes in the neck. A physician also can use a nasal endoscope in order to see inside the nasal passages.
If a doctor thinks that paranasal cancer is a possibility, the patient could be referred to a specialist for further examination. A specialist may use imaging tests to gain a greater understanding or conduct a biopsy to confirm the cancer diagnosis. However, if the symptoms are dismissed as a cold or allergies, the cancer could go undiagnosed.
The risks of a mistaken diagnosis are particularly great when cancer is involved. Since cancer is a progressive disease that may spread to other regions of the body, a failure to diagnose it can lead to severely worsened health consequences or even take a patient's life. People whose cancer was missed by a physician can consult with a medical malpractice attorney about the potential to seek compensation for their damages.