Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosed in Half of Investigated Cases According to Cambridge University Study

Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosed in Hundreds of Patients

A 2014 study undertaken by Cambridge University has established that hundreds of UK men may be at risk of having prostate cancer misdiagnosed due to inaccurate/ineffective examination techniques.

Half of the men examined in a clinical study were revealed to have been given inaccurate information as to how serious/aggressive their prostate cancer was, and as such may have been given “false hope” in relation to their survival probability. Misdiagnosing cancer may also lead to a delayed diagnosis of cancer and therefore delayed treatment of cancer, potentially impacting the effectiveness of said treatment and limiting a patient’s chances of survival.

The Common Threat of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer constitutes the most common cancer threat to men as a whole within the UK, with 40,000 new cases emerging every year, leading to approximately 11,000 fatalities. Despite this, it is in fact fairly commonplace for many men to have mild prostate cancer for many years without experiencing any adverse symptoms or requiring interventional surgery/treatment. In many cases leaving the less aggressive cancers, informally dubbed “pussycats” alone can actually be a safer option for patients, as removing the prostate can cause side effects such as erectile dysfunction.

‘Blind Sampling’ Could be the Cause of Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis

It’s thought that many of the men in the Cambridge study had their prostate cancer misdiagnosed and were mistakenly informed that they were carrying these “pussycats” as opposed to the more aggressive/dangerous “tiger” cancers that pose risks to patient survival.

The misdiagnoses in relation to prostate cancer are thought to have been caused by an inaccurate method of prostate testing known as “Blind Sampling”. These are essentially needle biopsies guided by ultrasound, where medical teams are forced to guess roughly where to probe for abnormalities within a given tissue sample. When tissue abnormalities are detected, an MRI scan is used to determine exactly where further action (including the possibility of invasive surgery) must be taken. Blind sampling is unique to prostate cancer treatment, and as such the findings of the study have implications only for those treated for this specific strain of the disease in recent years, who may be worried about the prospects of misdiagnosis, and accordingly clinical negligence.

Recent advances in prostate cancer treatment have now rendered blind sampling obsolete, with new practices offering greater accuracy and a reduced likelihood of cancer misdiagnosis. Professor Mark Emberton; a consultant urologist at Cambridge University issued the following statement as regards new, higher standards of medical practice:

“…diagnostic accuracy using MRI targeted biopsies was now in excess of 95 per cent, so men should be confident that they would get the best treatment…”

The study is a sobering reminder however that whilst medical practices continue to evolve and improve in the UK, in some areas misdiagnosis of cancer may remain a serious problem.

Claiming Compensation for Cancer Misdiagnosis

If you or a family member has received a misdiagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to make a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim if this resulted from clinical negligence. Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors offer free initial legal advice and can quickly tell you whether you may be entitled to cancer misdiagnosis compensation.

Contact us today on 0800 083 5500 and speak to a clinical negligence specialist.