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“Misdiagnosed Illnesses are Fairly Common”

The idea of a misdiagnosed disease can terrify a physician and give him nightmares concerning a malpractice lawsuit. Some diseases and conditions are more difficult to diagnose than others. While the overall rate of diagnostic error is reliably estimated at around five percent, these illnesses are much easier to miss or to misdiagnosis.  As such, it is extremely important for patients to seek a second medical opinion to confirm them.  However, the error seems remarkably common, with some estimates pegging misdiagnoses among 12 million Americans, or 1 in every 20 patients, each year.  Because it is an illness that can present common symptoms, cancer is the most misdiagnosed disease.  According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, doctors may miss or misdiagnose certain types of cancer up to 44 percent of the time.  Heart attacks often are mistaken for anxiety or indigestion and a cardiac episode can be deadly without timely treatment.  Patients should insist on a second medical opinion if they have any doubts or questions about their heart health.

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