Those who are affected by serious diseases, like cancer, face significant difficulties. These problems are compounded in people who have rare diseases. For instance, a person with an uncommon form of cancer may be misdiagnosed or have trouble finding an experienced specialist to provide a treatment plan. For example, a patient may live in New Jersey, but the closest specialist is in New York City.
The small sample size is one obstacle when it comes to the study of rare diseases. Another is the lack of experts who are focused on uncommon illnesses. Despite these obstacles, however, there is hope when it comes to the treatment of rare forms of cancer and other uncommon conditions.
That hope comes from recent trends and innovations in the field of cancer treatment. One such trend is the use of genetic mutations to treat all cancers. This is the kind of innovation that may have far-reaching implications. For example, several immunotherapy drugs have recently been approved for the treatment of any cancer with a DNA mismatch repair deficiency. Two rare cancers, a rare pancreatic cancer (acinar cell sarcoma) and a muscular tumor (rhabdomyosarcoma) share this mismatch with more common cancers like breast, bladder and colorectal cancers.
What this means for the treatment of rare cancers is that they fall under this umbrella. Therefore, research for more common cancers can offer treatment promise for those who have less common kinds of cancer.
When a person is misdiagnosed, even in the case of a rare type of cancer, the result can be serious, including delayed and wrong treatment. When treatment is delayed, the disease may progress while a timely diagnosis could have resulted in a more positive prognosis. If a rare cancer is misdiagnosed, a patient might receive the wrong treatment and suffer from side effects and other consequences. Such a person might be entitled to compensation for necessary additional medical treatment, lost wages, rehabilitation and mental health counseling. An attorney with a background in medical malpractice cases can evaluate an individual’s misdiagnosis to determine what compensation may be appropriate.