Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer Misdiagnosis

Revolutionary advances in research and treatment of cancer have led to longer lives, increased vitality, and, in some cases, cures. The most important factor in beating a cancer diagnosis is simply time: the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the treatment, the higher likelihood for a successful fight against all forms of cancer, less pain, less financial hardship, and a greater long-term survival. If a doctor or physician fails to diagnose cancer in a timely manner, or does not provide an adequate treatment for the particular form of cancer, compensation may be available for the worsening of the condition.

Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620 Many common forms of cancer are often misdiagnosed. These include:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Skin Cancer/Melanoma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer

Visit each of these sections below to learn more about the different forms of cancer misdiagnosis. These are not the only forms of cancer that are misdiagnosed or mistreated; all forms of cancer may fall into misdiagnosis.

Breast Cancer

More than one in ten women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Misdiagnosis or mistreatment of breast cancer results in more legal claims for medical malpractice than for any other disease. This illness often responds well to treatment and early detection is the key factor to higher survival rates. Even after a woman feels a lump and undergoes a mammogram, the carcinoma may still go undetected for months as doctors may rely too heavily on negative mammogram results. This particularly affects younger women whose mammary tissue is dense and a mammogram may miss small tumors. In addition a doctor may rely too heavily on a woman's age as a predicting factor as the condition is more often associated with older women which may result in doctors not taking younger woman's complaints seriously.

Medical malpractice can include misdiagnosis, failure to treat, improper treatment, delay in treatment, failure to perform appropriate follow-up or prescription errors and describes any treatment, lack of treatment, or other departure from accepted standards of medical care, health care, or safety on the part of a health care provider which causes harm to a patient. Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of breast cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620.

Common Medical Mistakes in Breast Cancer Diagnosis

  • Failure to identify an obvious lump during breast examination
  • Failing to perform a breast examination which would have identified a clinically obvious tumor
  • Failure to arrange mammogram, x-rays, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI scan
  • Mistaking a tumor for an infection or diagnosing the tumor as benign
  • Failure to properly evaluate biopsy or test results
  • Failure to follow up on test results
  • Failure to order future tests
  • Failure to order a biopsy
  • Failure to follow up with the patient
  • Failure to determine the cause of nipple discharge
  • Disregarding history of sharp pain in breast
  • Failure to recognize common symptoms

Additional Resources BreastCancer.org National Cancer Institute WebMD Breast Cancer Center

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is regarded by the medical profession as a preventable disease because pre-cancerous changes can be detected by pap smears obtained during routine pelvic examinations. Significant advances in medical knowledge have made it possible to effectively prevent and treat this illness through early detection, and thereby minimize the debilitating effects of cancer treatments. Pap smears are the de facto test for cervical cancer, and are performed during routine pelvic examination Cell samples are collected during the examination, then microscopically analyzed for the presence of cancerous or precancerous changes often in the absence of any symptoms. If cancer of the cervix or precancerous changes are detected early then survival rates are very high with rapid and appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis as a result of pap smear screening could almost eliminate the chances of developing invasive cervical cancer. Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of cervical cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620.

Common Medical Mistakes in Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

  • Failure to test when a patient exhibits indicative symptoms
  • Failure to identify a cancerous mass in the cervix during a routine cervical examination
  • Failure to perform a pap smear
  • Misinterpreting the pap smear or biopsy results
  • Failure to have a biopsy performed when the physical examination results are abnormal
  • Failure to recommend appropriate treatment options
  • Failure to react quickly to biopsy findings

Additional Resources National Cancer Institute WebMD Cervical Cancer Mayo Clinic on Cervical Cancer

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in the United States and failure of diagnosis is one of the most frequent causes of medical malpractice claims. Cancer of the colon almost always arises from a polyp which is often readily demonstrable for years and which may bleed intermittently before an invasive and ultimately incurable cancer develops. Misdiagnosis usually results from a failure to properly evaluate complaints of rectal bleeding.

Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

  • High fat, high calorie, low fiber diets
  • Over the age of 50
  • Benign growths (polyps) on the colon walls
  • Women with a history of cancer of the ovary, uterus, or breast cancer
  • Family history and genetic predispositions
  • Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis

Tests to Diagnose Colon Cancer

  • Barium enema x-rays
  • A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
  • Blood tests
  • A digital rectal examination may reveal abnormalities
  • X-rays can reveal polyps or other changes
  • Tissue biopsies from different areas of the colon

Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620. Additional Resources National Cancer Institute: Colon Cancer American Cancer Society on Colon Cancer Colon Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is usually diagnosed by a biopsy which is the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A number of procedures may be used to obtain this tissue:

  • A hypodermic needle is inserted into the tumor through the chest wall to remove a tissue sample, or to take a small sample of fluid surrounding the lungs
  • A bronchoscope is inserted through the mouth or nose and into the windpipe to look at the lungs and collect small samples of tissue
  • Laparoscopy techniques can be used to obtain a tissue sample

Other tests can be used to determine the extent of the lung cancer including:

  • Mediastinoscopy can determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
  • Radionuclide scanning can show whether cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver
  • MRI, CAT or CT scan to determine the amount of damage to the lungs

The key to successful treatment is early diagnosis. Many medical mistakes can lead to a delay in diagnosis which may deprive patients of the chance for successful treatment. Delays in diagnosis may cause a worsening of the illness and are often the result of:

  • Failure to refer to a patient who exhibits typical symptoms to a specialist
  • Failure to have a biopsy performed when the physical examination results are abnormal
  • Failure to make arrangements to carry out the appropriate tests when a patient exhibits symptoms
  • Failure to take appropriate action following receipt of an unfavorable biopsy results
  • Failing to monitor patients with cancer in the family
  • Failure to recommend appropriate treatment options
  • Lost records, notes and test results

There is a well documented increased in the incidence in individuals who are exposed to asbestos fibers. While cigarette smoking is the most well known cause, asbestos is recognized as a potent lung carcinogen, particularly when combined with cigarette smoking. Studies show that when both asbestos fibers and cigarette smoke are inhaled, there is a synergistic effect which multiplies the risk of each carcinogen. Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of lung cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620. Additional Resources National Cancer Institute WebMD Lung Cancer Center National Lung Cancer Partnership

Skin Cancer & Melanoma

As the overall cancer rates drop, skin cancer continues to buck the trend, growing by about 6% each year. Early recognition and treatment of melanomas, a form of skin cancer, is imperative to positive outcomes, and a misdiagnosis of a melanoma or other form of skin cancer may prove disastrous to a patient's recovery

Common Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  • Family History - a history of cancer in the family
  • Physical Characteristics - blue eyes, fair skin, freckles
  • Sun Exposure during Adolescence - number of sunburns combined with low latitude, high UV-B exposure
  • Atypical Mole Syndrome

How Skin Cancer is Diagnosed

Patients with skin cancer will present with skin lesions, moles, and spots that have changed size, color, contour or shape. The acronym "ABCDE" is the easiest way to remember the characteristics associated with skin cancer: A - asymmetry - the mole is or becomes asymmetrical B - border - the border around the mole is or becomes irregularly shaped C - color - the color of the mole is or develops red, white, and blue tones in a brown or black spot D - diameter - the diameter of the mole is greater than 6mm E - elevated - the surface of the mole is or becomes elevated Moles may also itch, burn, or develop additional spots around it. On review of these strange spots, a doctor will perform an excisional biospy - essentially cut a sample out of the skin - to confirm a diagnosis. The thickest part of the lesion should be sampled, and at any point, health care professionals should err on the side of performing the biopsy - they're easy, safe, and is the best way to confirm a diagnosis and design a treatment plan.

Common Medical Mistakes with Skin Cancer

  • Failure to test when a patient exhibits indicative symptoms
  • Failure to identify a cancerous mass in the cervix during a routine cervical examination
  • Failure to perform a pap smear
  • Misinterpreting the pap smear or biopsy results
  • Failure to have a biopsy performed when the physical examination results are abnormal
  • Failure to recommend appropriate treatment options
  • Failure to react quickly to biopsy findings

Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of skin cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in men. Almost 200,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States every year; more than 15,000 men will die from this disease. Diagnostic tools are available for early detection and doctors owe a duty of care to ensure prompt examination. Medical malpractice results in numerous claims every year as a result of inappropriate treatment or other departure from accepted standards of medical care or safety on the part of a health care provider. Some of the deaths are caused by medical malpractice which can include any of the following errors by health care professionals:

  • Failing to perform a physical examination or PSA blood test
  • Failing to monitor patients with a family history of cancer
  • Failing to identify a cancerous mass during examination
  • Failing to perform a biopsy when test results are not normal
  • Ignoring or failing to recognize a patient's symptoms
  • Ignoring blood test or biopsy results
  • Losing records
  • Failing to follow-up with the patient

Common Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

  • Urinary dribbling, especially immediately after urinating
  • Delayed or slowed start of urinary stream
  • Urinary retention
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Pain with urination
  • Lower back pain
  • Excessive urination at night
  • Pain with bowel movement
  • Incontinence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

Screening and Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

  • Digital rectal examination - a biopsy is usually carried out following abnormal findings
  • Level of PSA – a measurement of a particular protein in the body is increased by a number of conditions including prostate cancer
  • If a biopsy is negative then PSA and rectal examinations are usually carried out on an annual basis.

Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of prostate cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620.  Additional Resources National Cancer Institute on Prostate Cancer WebMD Prostate Cancer Center Mayo Clinic on Prostate Cancer

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is a tricky diagnosis - often there are no symptoms in the early stages or when symptoms do occur, they are often vague and ignored. Symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or having blood in the stool)

With these vague symptoms, a diagnosis of stomach cancer is often overlooked. Patient history, along with several laboratory tests, may confirm a diagnosis of stomach cancer. These tests include:

  • Fecal occult blood test which checks for the presence of hidden blood in the stool
  • X-rays of the esophagus and stomach
  • Endoscopy, which is passed through the mouth into the stomach. If abnormal tissue is found, a sample can be removed for microscopic examination

Stomach cancer is difficult to treat unless it is found in an early stage before it has begun to spread. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery, commonly referred to as a gastrectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Biological therapy, commonly known as immunotherapy, a form of treatment that helps the body's immune system attack and destroy malignant cells.

The most common claims dealt with by medical malpractice lawyers are the failure to diagnose stomach cancer in a timely manner, or failure to arrange an appropriate treatment for the patient Do you believe you have a misdiagnosed or mistreated form of stomach cancer? Contact our medical malpractice lawyers immediately for your complimentary case review. If you would prefer to speak with someone regarding your case, please call our offices at anytime: 1-877-659-1620. Additional Resources National Cancer Institute: Stomach Cancer Mayo Clinic on Stomach Cancer American Cancer Society on Stomach Cancer

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Have you suffered an injury, harm, mistake or accident at the hands of a medical professional with regard to your cancer diagnosis or treatment? Contact the Rasansky Law Firm online, or call our offices anytime at 1-877-659-1620 to discuss your situation with our experienced medical malpractice attorneys. In the complimentary consultation, our attorneys will review your experiences and situation and provide you information regarding your legal rights, options, and responsibilities. We demand strict professional standards. Our Dallas-based attorneys are among the finest medical malpractice lawyers and have resolved many multi-million dollar personal injury cases. We are passionate about our role as advocates and treat our clients with complete respect and compassion. We are committed to utilizing all available legal advantages and tactics to successfully resolve your medical malpractice claim.

 

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