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New procedure could reduce the failure to diagnose cancer

One of the primary ways that cancer is diagnosed is through a lengthy and expensive procedure to analyze the lubricant naturally formed by the lungs while breathing. It is called pleural fluid. Unfortunately, the technique is also not as accurate as it could be and runs the risk of errors. A new technique being developed by researchers could reduce the failure to diagnose cancer and get treatment started as soon as possible.

Some New Jersey residents may already know that there is ordinarily an abnormal amount of pleural fluid present in conditions such as cancer, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Researchers discovered that the cells compress differently when a condition such as cancer is present in the body. The new technique uses a fluid that grabs the cells and "squeezes" them to determine their composition. This process has been dubbed "deformability cytometry."

Deformability cytometry is touted as being more accurate and providing more detail. The process is faster than any other technique currently used for identifying cancer cells. Researchers have gone so far as to test known cancer samples, using traditional methods and then with this new technique. The traditional methods did not always detect the cancer, but the new one did.

Any procedure that will reduce the failure to diagnose cancer would be a welcome addition to patients and doctors alike. However, until the procedure becomes a normal part of the diagnostic tools for cancer, mistakes are still possible. If a New Jersey patient -- or their family -- discovers that a physician or other hospital staff either missed the cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed the patient, a medical malpractice claim for damages may be an appropriate choice.

Source:, New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis, No author, Nov. 22, 2013

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Alan D. Bell
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