Cancer Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
As most people know, cancer is a serious disease that spreads throughout the body, and if left undiagnosed or untreated, will eventually lead to a patient’s death in most cases. Unfortunately, a failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosis of cancer causes devastation for patients. Oftentimes, patients see the disease progress to a point beyond treatment, or require more aggressive treatments.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Cancer?
A doctor, often an oncologist, diagnoses cancer after thoroughly examining cell or tissue samples under a microscope. Doctors also utilize imaging tests, such as x-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs to find growths in the body. Once doctors identify a growth, they biopsy the growth to examine it for cancer. In the case of any cancer, from skin to pancreatic, it is vital to diagnose the disease as soon as possible to keep it from metastasizing, or spreading to an organ not affiliated with the original cancer.
How Do Doctors Misdiagnose Cancer?
Misdiagnosis of cancer occurs when doctors fail to order the appropriate tests. Many types of cancer can be easily detected by simple tests, but for a variety of reasons, doctors don’t always pursue diagnostic testing. Some of the most common types of tests used to detect cancer include:
- Colonoscopy – to detect colon cancer and other conditions
- Chest X-rays – to detect lung cancer
- Fecal occult blood tests – FOBTs performed on stool to detect colorectal cancers
- Mammograms and/or manual breast examinations – used to detect breast cancer in females and males
- PAP smears – to detect cervical cancer
- Prostate exam – to detect prostate cancer
When health care providers fail to perform these and other critical tests, or when they delay these tests for whatever reason, it may amount to medical negligence. Tests performed in a timely manner, but not evaluated correctly constitute a potential claim of medical negligence.
Certain types of cancers can mimic each other or other medical conditions and doctors who do not confirm a cancer before treating it may be doing more harm than good. This improper treatment for misdiagnosed cancers can have devastating, even deadly, results and amount to medical negligence.
Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyers
If you were diagnosed with cancer in the Philadelphia area and suspect your diagnosis was delayed or botched, you may be able to file a claim. Call the experienced cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP immediately for a free consultation to discuss your claim. We can analyze your situation and help you understand your legal options.