You depend on your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis when something feels amiss. When he or she fails to do so, it may have a significant impact on your ability to make a full recovery. Pancreatic cancer has long been tough to detect. However, when doctors fail to diagnose, or misdiagnose, this particular form of the disease, the consequences are often dire.
Per the Johns Hopkins Hospital, when your doctor identifies your disease is going to have a significant impact on your prognosis.
Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. This is due in part to the fact that many patients do not receive their diagnoses until they are already in stage four, meaning cancer has already spread outside the pancreas. Once cancer metastasizes, you may have fewer treatment options than you would have your doctor caught it early. However, most pancreatic cancer patients do not develop obvious symptoms until their diseases have progressed, making early diagnosis more difficult.
How valuable is an early pancreatic cancer diagnosis? Pancreatic cancer is curable in about 10% of pancreatic cancer patients who receive early diagnoses. This means about 10% of those with conditions caught early to go on to live healthy, normal lives. The average prognosis for a patient whose doctor accurately diagnoses him or her before the tumor grows much or cancer spreads is between three and three-and-a-half years.
Many pancreatic cancer patients receive similar inaccurate diagnoses. If your physician diagnoses you with ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones or other gallbladder issues, know that these are common misdiagnoses heard by pancreatic cancer patients.