Wrongful deaths caused by cancer misdiagnosis are on the rise and are hurting patients’ chances for a higher survival rate. Early detection of cancer is a key factor in successful treatment, higher survival rates and decreased costs of medical bills for cancer patients. For example, a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages will survive at least 5 years longer.
When cancer is diagnosed after the disease has progressed, more drastic forms of treatment such as higher dosages of radiation and chemotherapy are required. Such intense treatments are not only painful and debilitating, but cause added expenses for the patient who is already buried in medical bills.
One reason that doctors can misdiagnose cancer is because they fail to take a patient’s complaint seriously, and in turn, do not fully examine the patient.
Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis
The following are frequently reported types of negligence by doctors in misdiagnosed cancer cases:
- Failing to identify an obvious lump during breast examination
- Failing to order x-rays, CT scans or MRI’s
- Failing to properly evaluate test results
- Failing to recognize common symptoms of the applicable form of cancer
- Mistaking a tumor for an infection or diagnosing the tumor as benign
- Failing to follow up on test results
- Failing to order a biopsy
- Failing to order future tests
- Failing to follow up with the patient
Early Treatment and Diagnosis
Many cases of cancer are preventable or can be completely treated — “if” a proper and early diagnosis is made. Delay in treatment will affect survival rates and the quality of life that a patient experiences. There are certain types of cancer that respond especially well to early treatment and diagnosis in most cases.
Preventing Misdiagnosis Of Cancer Or Other Diseases
Always make sure you are clear with your doctor about the symptoms that you are feeling. Do not let him/her ignore your complaints without giving you a reasonable response as to why you may be feeling the way that you do. Also, make sure that you clearly understand what your doctor is telling you. Ask questions! If tests are shown or explained to you and you do not understand them, make the doctor stop and discuss them in further detail with you.
DON’T DELAY If Misdiagnosis Or Errors Are Suspected
You may be experiencing pain and suffering and severe financial hardships. You should not go through this difficult time alone. You, the patient, should not be paying for your doctor’s mistakes or negligence. If you or a loved one is living with the consequences of a doctor error or misdiagnosis, it is important to contact experienced lawyers who can protect your rights and get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
First, remember that it is your burden to prove the doctor’s negligence. Do not delay – time is of the essence. All states have statute of limitations that limit the time in which you can file these types of claims. A delay may make it impossible to collect the compensation to which you are entitled.