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Prostate cancer metastasis could be misdiagnosed

A popular PET imaging method for determining what stage of prostate cancer a person is at may not be entirely accurate according to a study that appears in the September issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Some New York men may have undergone prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography imaging, which is used to identify the enzyme PMSA.

While PMSA can indicate that prostate cancer has metastasized, the study found that the enzyme may also be expressive in benign tissue. This could result in the misdiagnosis that the prostate cancer has spread when it has not, and the patient might undergo unnecessary treatment.

Researchers say this does not mean the test should be abandoned. Instead, it should be interpreted alongside localization and configuration of the lesions. Their findings, which focused on sacral, coeliac and cervical ganglia, supported other studies that have reported the confusion of lymph node metastasis with PMSA expressiveness in benign tissue.

When a misdiagnosis happens, it can have serious implications for a person's health. A misdiagnosis that results in overtreatment, as might be the case with a PMSA PET that is interpreted as a case of metastasis when it is not, can cause physical harm since many treatments have side effects as well as psychological harm. In other misdiagnoses, a person might be treated for the wrong condition. This could be detrimental to the person's health or even fatal. People who believe they have suffered as a result of medical malpractice may want to consult an attorney about the situation. The medical provider might offer an out-of-court settlement, but it could be inadequate. If the person goes to court, it will be necessary to demonstrate that the medical professional's treatment did not meet a reasonable standard of care.

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