Getting a cancer diagnosis is something the occurs to a countless number of people in Virginia each year. Complicating the situation are the number of misdiagnoses. According to ABC News, during a review of 6,000 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer, it was found that 71 of them were misdiagnosed.

To understand how this can occur, it helps to know more about how cancer is diagnosed. The diagnosis is not made based on a person’s symptoms or the opinion of a doctor alone. It is actually more scientific. A biopsy must be done so it can be examined by a pathologist.

Misdiagnosis of cancer can include saying a person has cancer when he or she does not or diagnosing the wrong kind of cancer. It also includes determining someone does not have cancer when in fact he or she does. Any misdiagnosis is a serious problem because it leads to patients not getting the correct treatment or being treated needlessly.

According to KevinMD, there are some things that patients can do to help prevent a misdiagnosis from every occurring. Patients are advised to always get a second opinion. Doctors are human, so errors can occur, and by having two doctors weighing in, the chances are reduced an error will get past without being caught. Asking questions is also important so patients can learn about why a doctor may have made the diagnosis and get to the heart of anything that does not seem right. In addition, patients need to know their own family histories and make sure their doctors do, too. Family history plays a large role in many cancers, so reminding a doctor of a risk can make diagnosis easier.