New Study Looks at X-ray Screening and Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association casts doubt on one technique employed by oncologists and other medical professionals: using chest X-rays to diagnose lung cancer. The study, supported by the National Cancer Institute, looked at data involving 150,000 participants in a cancer screening trial, and found no difference in lung cancer mortality between individuals who were annually screened for four years and those who received typical care available in their communities.

Dr. Christine Berg, the lead author of the study, called the results definitive: “They really indicate that lung cancer screening with chest X-ray is of no benefit for reducing lung cancer mortality, regardless of an individual’s risk profile.”

A similar study published by Dr. Berg last year concluded that low-dose CT scans provided a clear benefit in diagnosis of lung cancer over X-ray screening. That study was based on a cancer screening trial involving more than 50,000 heavy smokers.

Patients must be able to trust that doctors will provide timely and appropriate care when they seek medical diagnosis and treatment. A failure to order proper testing, mistakes in reading lab results or failing to advise proper cancer screening can all cause tragic delays for afflicted patients. Patients and family members who suspect cancer misdiagnosis can consult with a Pennsylvania or New Jersey medical malpractice attorney to discuss their legal options.

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