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Overdiagnosis is contributing to spread of thyroid cancer

Medical experts have determined that a sharp uptick in the number of newly diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer has resulted primarily from overdiagnosis of numerous, relatively non-aggressive cancers. Not all diagnosis errors involve misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Many diagnosis errors that cause patients grave harm involve physicians who are overly aggressive in treating cancers that are too small or too slow moving to cause patients serious harm.

In these cases, an overly aggressive treatment plan in response to cancer diagnosis can do far more harm than good. According to a recently released study, new thyroid cancer cases have increased by nearly three-fold since 1975. Many of these truly dangerous thyroid cancer cases resulted directly from overly aggressive treatments for relatively small, slow or otherwise practically harmless types of cancer affecting the breast, prostate, lungs and/or thyroid.

It is ultimately important for patients and physicians to understand that not all cancers are created equally. Some cancers are aggressive and require aggressive forms of treatment. Others are relatively benign. When patients and physicians treat all cancers as a potential death sentence, they risk doing more damage to the body during treatment than would ever be done when attempting to treat these tamer cancers.

If your physician has been overly aggressive in his or her treatment plan for you and you have suffered harm as a result, you may be able to hold your physician accountable for these consequences. Please consult a personal injury attorney experienced in matters of medical malpractice with any questions you may have.

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Thyroid cancer cases have soared," Lindey Tanner, Associated Press, Feb. 20, 2014

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