What Happens When Doctors Do Not Follow Up On Abnormal Digital Exam And PSA Testing

26th August 2010
By J. Hernandez in Medical Malpractice
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Imagine you are a man and you go to your doctor for your yearly checkup. Imagine the physician orders blood tests, including a PSA test which is used for the early detection of prostate cancer. So far, so good. This is the way to determine whether a male without any symptoms of prostate cancer might actually have it. Imagine the tests came back outside the normal range

Yet, there continues to be debate amid some doctors over how to screen asymptomatic male patients for prostate cancer or whether to screen at all. They take the position that screening has little, if any, value. If of a screening test is abnormal the patient needs to be informed about the results and either be referred to a specialist or be told about the option for diagnostic testing, such as a biopsy. Once more, though, a number of doctors also take the position that, at least under certain instances, a male patient diagnosed with prostate cancer does not need to undergo treatment right away and just has to carefully monitor the cancer.

Should this happen, the cancer becomes incurable before the patient turns symptomatic and is finally diagnosed. However, if a physician noted that the patient's prostate was enlarged or there was a nodule on the gland and the PSA test results showed abnormally high levels of the antigen and the doctor did not notify the man about the abnormal results, the man would probably think that meant there was no need to follow up.
The lengthier the delay in actually doing tests that will lead to a diagnosis of the cancer the larger the risk that when it is eventually diagnosed the cancer will have attained an advanced stage. This will considerably lessen treatment options, will wipe out the likelihood of a cure, and will reduce the patient's life. There are malpractice claims where a doctor did screen a patient and the test results were abnormal but the doctor failed to inform the patient and failed to follow up.

Screening tests might have false positives. This means that a percentage of patients with abnormal screening results will not have cancer. But doing screening tests for cancer is meaningless without follow up as it provides the patient a false sense of security believing that he has no cancer as the doctor screened him and said nothing to him that the tests revealed he might have cancer. Physicians generally concur that there is a need for follow up if the results of screening tests come back as abnormal.

To learn about prostate cancer and other cancer matters including metastasized breast cancer visit the websites
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