Delayed Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (Claims Corner CME)


Clinical judgment can prevent physicians from making timely diagnoses. Failures may result when patient assessments are incomplete, there is a narrow diagnostic focus, or a routine screening test is not ordered. Other factors that hinder timely diagnoses include communication and failure to appreciate signs and symptoms. Additionally, errors in judgment and cognitive bias can lead to misdiagnosis.

In reviewing closed malpractice claims, The Doctors Company identified missed or delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer in the ambulatory Family Practice setting as a reoccurring problem. This course highlights the importance of understanding the varying guidelines related to routine prostate cancer screening and contributing factors associated with failure to diagnose and treat.  Assumptions, lack of a thorough H & P, communication, and recognizing signs and symptoms are highlighted in this case study.

Course ID #: TDE 221068.0 Issue Date: 4/18/2022 Expiration Date: 4/18/2025


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Identify any challenges that can cause delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer in the ambulatory FP setting.
  • Explain the reasoning for the controversy related to routine PSA-based screening for prostate cancer and describe the risks and benefits of screening.
  • Identify how heuristics and cognitive bias can contribute to the potential failure to diagnose and implement strategies to overcome cognitive bias in the diagnostic process.
  • Implement shared decision-making as it relates to routine PSA-based prostate cancer screening.
  • Identify underlying reasons for communication failures that can contribute to misdiagnosis and address barriers by implementing communication strategies.
  • Determine who the appropriate patients are to screen for prostate cancer based on 2018 USPSTF guidelines.
  • Implement strategies that can reduce the risk of a malpractice claim involving the failure to timely diagnose and treat prostate cancer.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Angela Jordan, MHSc, RN, CPHRM, Patient Safety Analyst, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Susan Shepard, MSN, MA, RN, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical educational activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Interent Explorer is not supported on this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368.


Visit our Resource document for this program.