The problem of failure to diagnose doesn't always involve cancer. Sometimes it involves other serious conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
Considering how many Americans have diabetes, this is a major issue. And failure to diagnose kidney disease can be a form of medical malpractice.
Diabetes can inflict severe damage on the kidneys. Good doctors know that chronic kidney disease is a common complication of diabetes. But, many doctors are not properly diagnosing kidney disease.
Indeed, Dr. Leslie Spry of the National Kidney Foundation points to recent research evidence showing that, among more 9,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes who were studied, primary care doctors failed to diagnose Type 2 diabetes an astonishing 88 percent of the time.
Nationally, failure of this magnitude affects millions of people. How could it not do so, when 26 million people have Type 2 diabetes? And the number is only growing, as America battles an obesity epidemic.
When kidney disease goes undetected, the result can be kidney failure. This can land people on dialysis - or worse.
Two simple tests, however, can go a long way toward making the right diagnosis in the first place. One is a basic blood test to gauge how well the kidneys are functioning.
The other simple test is a urine protein test. This test measures the amount of protein in urine, and serves as an important indicator of chronic kidney disease.
In short, primary care doctors should know enough to recognize that people who already have Type 2 diabetes can benefit from regular checks for kidney disease.
Source: "Doctors Are Missing Kidney Disease in Those Most at Risk," Huffington Post, Leslie Spry, 6-19-12