Has your illness been misdiagnosed?
(Reuters) In June 2004, Trisha Torrey found a golf ball-size lump in her torso. A surgeon removed it and gave her the grim news: cancer.
And it wasn't just any cancer but an extremely rare type of lymphoma.
"The oncologist told me that if I didn't begin chemo immediately," says Torrey , "I would be dead by Christmas."
The 52-year-old marketing consultant says she was petrified. But something in her gut told her the diagnosis was wrong.
Her doctor assured her it was right: two labs had confirmed the subcutaneous panniculitis -like T-cell lymphoma.
Against her doctor's orders, Torrey delayed chemo and went to another oncologist, who sent a tissue sample to the National Institutes of Health. The result: Torrey never had cancer.
The lump was a harmless fatty growth. "On the one hand, I was overjoyed; on the other hand, I was just furious," Torrey says.
She couldn't believe she had been on the verge of having chemotherapy for nothing. What was it in Torrey's gut that told her the diagnosis might be wrong?
It's a lesson worth learning because misdiagnoses are more common than you might think: A 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says autopsy studies show doctors are wrong 10 percent to 15 percent of the time.
Here, from Torrey and from medical experts, are some red flags -- five reasons for suspecting your doctor might have made the wrong diagnosis.