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Potential for misdiagnosis with prostate cancer imaging tool

| Sep 17, 2018 | Medical Malpractice

When New Jersey men develop prostate disease, their physicians will determine appropriate treatments based on the stage and progression of the cancer. A commonly-employed medical imagining tool is called the prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography. Although PSMA PET is very useful for measuring the stages of prostate cancer and metastases, researchers have identified shortcomings with the imaging procedure that could lead to a misdiagnosis.

The imaging targets the PSMA enzyme because it is strongly associated with the presence of prostate cancer cells. Problems arise when only using the PSMA PET because a high level of PSMA sometimes appears in benign cells. If a physician relies only on the results of PSMA PET, then an incorrect diagnosis of lymph node metastases could occur. When a physician wrongly believes that lymph node metastases are present, unnecessary changes in medical treatments could take place.

Because of the chance of misinterpretation, medical researchers advise physicians treating prostate cancer to confirm the findings obtained with PSMA PET. They should also look at PSMA-ligand uptake in the suspicious lesions. This test could differentiate between actual lymph node metastases and benign tissues.

A person confronted by a serious disease like cancer depends on medical professionals making accurate diagnostic judgments and treatment choices. When a physician misreads test results or fails to recognize symptoms, a person might become a victim of medical malpractice. An attorney who handles these types of cases could review the situation to see if legal action might recover damages for lost treatment opportunities or unnecessary treatments. An attorney could provide access to an independent physician who might provide testimony that supports charges of medical negligence. Initially, an attorney could attempt to reach a settlement through negotiations but presenting the case in court could become an option.