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Test for lung cancer results in nearly 25 percent false positives

Some South Carolina residents may know that lung cancer deaths claim 150,000 lives in the U.S. annually. Medicare now covers a test called a spiral CT scan that screens for early lung cancer. The test is offered to smokers aged 55 to 77 on an annually basis. The recipients must have a 30-year history of smoking a pack of cigarettes each day. The results of a study done in 2011 concluded that 20 percent of lung cancer deaths might be prevented by using spiral CT imaging.

Physicians are divided in their opinion concerning the overall usefulness of the test. In the study group, nearly 25 percent of the participants had false-positive outcomes. If the test indicated the possibility of lung cancer in a particular patient, additional tests were done to confirm the original result. Such tests included biopsies, which are considered invasive procedures that have risks of their own. Some doctors argue that the high incidence of false positives and the risk of additional testing may negate the benefits of spiral CT imaging.

Other doctors argue that using a test with a high incidence of false positives might be harmful to patients. Subjecting the patient to invasive procedures or beginning medical treatment based on false positives can result in significant medical bills and inflict a financial burden due to lost time from work.

If the patient suffers financial harm due to erroneous test results or misdiagnosis, the patient may benefit from speaking with an attorney. The attorney may review the patient's record with the benefit of expert opinion to determine if the health professional's diagnosis and treatment fell below the standard of care. If negligence was involved, the attorney may file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
115 Broadus Ave.
Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
Phone: 864-990-0226
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