The Law Offices of Charles Dunn
Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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Certain PET scans could lead to prostate cancer misdiagnosis

Men in Texas and across the country may be concerned about prostate cancer, especially as it is one of the cancers most frequently suffered by American men. When diagnosing prostate cancer and making a plan for treatment, doctors frequently use positron emission tomography (PET) scans to detect certain types of activity. In particular, they may check for prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a specific type of enzyme that is included in prostate cancer cells and has a high level of reactivity. This means that it can be easily detected in a scan and can be used to determine the stage to which prostate cancer has progressed and whether it has spread through the body.

Researchers, however, have noted that PSMA is not only found in cancerous cells and metastases. It is also found in benign tissue in the bowels, kidney, salivary glands and certain ganglia. If a doctor relies solely on a PSMA PET scan, he or she may fail to properly diagnose the stage of a patient's cancer. In some cases, this could lead to unnecessary treatment, which can be seriously damaging to patients' health.

In one study, scientists found that 401 out of 407 patients had identifiable levels of PSMA recognition due to benign tissue rather than lymph node metastases. They warned doctors that, while PSMA PET scans are valuable for determining the stage of a patient's cancer, they should also use their own judgment or further tests to answer unresolved questions.

When it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment, medical mistakes can be serious and even fatal. A doctor's failure to diagnose cancer could lead to growth, metastasis and death. Even excessive treatment could have a range of severe side effects. People who have suffered worsened health due to a doctor error might consult with a medical malpractice attorney about the potential to seek compensation.

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