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Pediatric brain cancer patients frequently misdiagnosed

Children with brain tumors in Georgia and around the country are being regularly misdiagnosed, according to a study published in October. The research found that traditional methods are leading to young patients receiving the wrong diagnosis and, as a result, the wrong treatments.

According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, pediatric brain tumors long thought to be a type called supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal cancer could actually be one of several different types of brain tumors. In fact, researchers found that 22 of 31 pediatric patients initially diagnosed with that type of cancer actually had tumors so different that they should not have qualified for the study. The discovery was made possible by using a new technology that analyzes the molecular structure of tumor cells.

The lead author of the study said researchers were "absolutely shocked" by the findings. Different types of brain cancer can have very different outcomes that require very different treatments. As a result, a brain cancer misdiagnosis could cause a pediatric patient to undergo the incorrect treatment, which could cause needless discomfort while failing to fight the tumor. Sadly, this could also lead to a patient's untimely death.

People who have been harmed due to a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis may have the basis for a strong medical malpractice claim. An attorney could review the details of the case and determine if a doctor failed to provide a patient with the required standard of care. If so, legal counsel may recommend filing a lawsuit against the doctor and/or hospital seeking compensation for the losses that have been incurred.

Source: Fred Hutch, "Researchers 'shocked' to see how often experts misdiagnose certain brain tumors in kids", Susan Keown, Oct. 19, 2018

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