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New testing may be necessary for kids with brain tumors

The finding of a brain tumor is frightening for any Pennsylvania patient, but it's particularly difficult if the patient is a child. A parent is placed in the very difficult position of making medical decisions for their son or daughter. The conventional wisdom suggests early detection can provide the best hope for successful treatment. To receive the proper treatment, however, the correct diagnosis must be made. Otherwise, valuable time may be lost.

New cancer research has revealed a flaw in the diagnostic procedure used to determine if children with brain tumors have cancer. The traditional method of diagnosis has been to determine the location of the tumor in the brain and examine a tissue sample under a microscope. However, new methods of molecular testing reveal different forms of cancer can look identical under the microscope but in fact be quite different. Importantly, the different forms of cancer require different treatment options.

Patients with certain types of cancer respond well to an immediate schedule of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. For others with particularly aggressive forms of cancer, the ordeal of traditional treatments may not be worth the cost. However, without the proper diagnosis, the patient cannot make an informed choice weighing optional procedures and anticipated outcomes.

When a medical error is made that causes harm to a patient, the possibility of medical malpractice arises. The error must not only be one an average professional would not have made, but it also must have led to an outcome that would have been different without the error. A medical malpractice lawyer can help determine whether a specific set of circumstances establishes the framework for a malpractice case.

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