Persons of color face skin cancer misdiagnosis risk

Persons of color face skin cancer misdiagnosis risk

| Jun 22, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Misdiagnoses can pose a serious health risk for Ohio patients, especially when cancer is involved. Cancer is often a progressive disease that becomes more difficult to treat and more life-threatening the longer it goes undiagnosed. Skin cancer is often highly treatable in early stages but, when left to progress, may be deadly. While many people may dismiss skin symptoms as mere cosmetic issues, public awareness campaigns have highlighted the importance of checking for signs of skin cancer. However, as in other aspects of health care, people of color may face particular risks when seeking a correct diagnosis.

Skin cancer mortality rates higher for people of color

People of color are more likely to die after a skin cancer diagnosis has been made. While there could be several factors leading to worsened health outcomes for black and brown patients, a diagnosis at a more advanced stage of the disease is a common and constant concern. Less than 5% of the images in medical textbooks feature dark skin, which means that doctors may not realize the signs to look for in patients of color. This trend holds true for a range of skin diseases, from psoriasis to cancer.

A misdiagnosis can delay necessary action

When patients are misdiagnosed with a less serious skin ailment, they frequently accept the incorrect diagnosis. They may pursue cosmetic treatments or delay further investigation, since they were diagnosed by a physician already. As a result, the skin cancer may be left to grow and spread, reaching internal organs.

Misdiagnosis due to a lack of knowledge or familiarity with the signs of skin cancer on darker skin poses a serious risk to patients’ health and lives. If you were harmed by a doctor’s error, a medical malpractice attorney may provide advice on how you can seek compensation for the damages you have suffered.