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Study shows alarming misdiagnosis rate for childhood brain cancer

Getting the right treatment is important for children in Florida who are diagnosed with brain cancer. One type of cancer called CNS-PNET is traditionally diagnosed by the locations of the tumors in the brain and by looking at tumors under a microscope.

A study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed that the traditional diagnosis method is flawed. The researchers were interested in using a new technology to confirm the diagnoses of children who had been diagnosed with CNS-PNET called methylation. They used methylation on samples of the tumors taken from 31 children who had been enrolled in a large clinical trial of an aggressive treatment for CNS-PNET patients.

According to the researchers, 22 of the children had different types of brain cancer and should not have been enrolled in the clinical trial. The biology of their tumors was different enough that the treatments that they had received were entirely wrong for their cancer. Some of the children actually had a cancer that has a much better prognosis than CNS-PNET when it is caught on time. Others had tumors called glioblastomas that have a much worse prognosis.

Getting diagnosed with cancer early helps to improve the prognosis for children. However, if the diagnosis is incorrect, the aggressive treatments that might be used may cause harmful side effects and a worsened prognosis for the cancer that they have. Families who learn that their children were diagnosed with the wrong type of cancer and whose diagnoses of the correct cancers were delayed might want to talk to experienced medical malpractice lawyers. The attorneys may review what happened and provide honest assessments of the potential claims. If they agree to accept representation, they may litigate on their clients' behalf to try to hold the negligent doctors accountable for their actions.

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