Extra-mammary Paget Disease: Tips on Making the Correct Diagnosis

To err is human, they say. But, what if those errors cannot be rectified? What if those errors put lives at stake? 

According to CBS News, approximately 12 million adults who seek ambulatory care including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, etc., are misdiagnosed. In most cases, this misdiagnosis either results in serious complications or loss of life. And, no error justifies a death. In fact, any carelessness towards the patient's health is violating the basic ethical code of medical practice. 

One such often misdiagnosed condition that affects the survival rate of the patients' is Extra-mammary Paget Disease (EMPD). Let's learn more about this condition and what measure could be taken to ensure its correct diagnosis.  

What is Extra-mammary Paget Disease (EMPD)?

Extra-mammary Paget Disease (EMPD) is a rare and slowly-growing condition that is identified by a persistent eczema-like rash of the skin. This malignancy usually occurs around the genital regions of males and females. It's the most visible site is the vulva, although perianal, scrotal, perineal, and penile skin might also be affected.

The most common symptom of EMPD involves mild to intense itching or burning. Sometimes, this itching and burning often results in pain and bleeding from scratching of lesions. Other than this, flaky, scaly skin, redness and thickening skin are also symptoms of EMPD.

How to Ensure The Accuracy of EMPD Diagnosis?

EMPD is increasing at a rate of 3.2%  every year. If not diagnosed and treated in time, this condition can be lethal. So, to ensure a correct diagnosis, we've outlined a few tips that might help in the long-run.  

Pay Attention to Each Symptom

As the disease does not show any serious and obvious symptoms, it is often confused with skin conditions like rash or eczema. Often, it also happens that a patient simply forgets to mention some symptoms which may result in misdiagnosis of the condition.

So, it is important for a doctor to pay attention to detail. Take note of everything that a patient mentions and analyze the condition. Often, overlooked information is the reason for delayed or misdiagnosis.       

Use Advanced Tools

Most of the times, the lack of advanced technology and medical equipment in the healthcare facility is also a contributing factor to the wrong diagnosis.    

Simply put, if doctors are not provided with the latest technology, significant hurdles raise the chance of diagnostic errors. Therefore, to ensure the diagnosis is accurate, it is wise to use some digital tools like DxplainIsabelVisualdx, etc. These tools not only aid therapeutic decisions but also help in increasing diagnosis accuracy. 

Know the Medical History

Browse through the medical history of the patient, including their family. Identify what diseases and conditions commonly run in the family. Condition like EMPD cancer has a genetic component which makes it easy for a doctor to diagnose it. Besides, diagnosing EMPD in the early stage can help in devising a successful treatment plan for the patient.

Always Consider A Double Check

If a doctor is unsure about any symptom or any test report, it is always advised to take help of the senior doctors. This way they can get an accurate outlook of any sign or symptom which will help in their quest for a diagnosis. Besides, getting a second opinion always help in ensuring that the diagnosis is moving in the right direction.

Do Not Jump onto Conclusions

Sure, every patient wants a label for their existing medical condition, but pushing for definitive diagnosis only results in diagnostic errors. For instance, if a patient has a blocked nose and they tell the doctor, 'I have a cold,' they're excluding other causes of a blocked nose, such as flu or sinusitis.

In fact, the doctor may too proceed with the same perspective. In other words, it's like being definitive but potentially wrong. So, it's better to have a doctor diagnose the symptoms intricately rather than jumping on a conclusion oneself.

Be Peculiar with the Biopsy Reports

The most important part of diagnosing EMPD is Biopsy. It helps in confirming the condition so that a treatment plan can be set into action. Therefore, it is important to carefully take the tissue sample of the lesion for the diagnosis.

Other than this, use of special stains is also necessary to differentiate EMPD disease from early melanoma. Once the biopsy is completed, the results will help in determining whether or not a patient has EPMD.

A patient's life is in their doctor's hand. So, just be careful and follow the above-mentioned tips to avoid any diagnostic errors while identifying EMPD disease.

Contributor Bio- The blog is presented by Sharda Hospital. Sharda Hospital is one of the largest super speciality hospitals in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).