What Is Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a patient’s cancer at the earliest opportunity or evaluates a patient’s cancer incorrectly with the wrong primary source or staging information.
Other ways cancer misdiagnosis (or a delay in diagnosing cancer) can occur, includes but are not limited to:
- Failure to appropriately assess a patient’s medical history
- Failure to take a patient’s worrisome signs and symptoms into consideration
- Failure to appropriately screen patients in accordance with recommended screening standards
- Failure to appropriately follow up on or adequately address various types of test or imaging results
- Failure to facilitate referrals to specialists
Where these failures constitute medical malpractice in NJ or PA, a cancer misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosing cancer can cost a patient the precious time they would have had to take advantage of the best available treatment options. Additionally, many forms of cancer respond better to treatment when detected at an early stage. In certain cases, compensation may be warranted for a claimant’s loss of income and pain or suffering from the preventable harm they suffered. Learning about you or a loved one’s advanced-stage cancer diagnosis is devastating. Further suspecting that you or a loved one’s advanced-stage cancer diagnosis could have possibly been prevented by earlier diagnosis or due to diagnostic error can cause extreme emotional distress as well as a lost chance of survival.
How Often Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?
False cancer diagnosis rates can be difficult to determine. Oftentimes, doctors miss symptoms for a few months or even a few days before they realize their patient might have cancer. Given the limited impact, a short delay in cancer diagnosis can have on a cancer patient’s outcome, more minor delays may go unnoticed or undocumented.
Recent studies found that a cancer misdiagnosis surprisingly can occur in more than 10% of diagnoses. Lymphoma, breast cancer, melanoma, and sarcomas were among some of the most misdiagnosed types of cancer.
How Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?
A suspicion of cancer may come up through a routine physical examination, due to results of a screening or other laboratory tests, or because of symptoms that you bring to your doctor’s attention. It is not your responsibility to know that your symptoms may indicate cancer. That is the duty of your doctor. It is possible for cancer to be misdiagnosed or accidentally missed by doctors in many different ways. Below are the most common ways that cancer is misdiagnosed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania healthcare professionals.
How Can Cancer be Misdiagnosed By Doctors?
- Failure to perform a thorough and complete physical examination
- Failure to take a careful and detailed history
- Failure to adequately follow up or communicate with the patient
- Failure to recognize early warning signs and symptoms
- Failure to recommend or offer cancer screening
- Failure to recommend tests due to financial concerns
- Improper performance or interpretation of radiological or laboratory testing
- Failure to refer to appropriate specialists
- Communication errors between doctors and medical facilities
What Type of Cancer Can be Misdiagnosed?
Some types of cancer are particularly responsive to early treatment, meaning that failing to diagnose them in the early stages makes an even greater difference. Cancers that are responsive to early treatment include:
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical, Ovarian, or Uterine Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Skin Cancer and Melanoma
- Testicular Cancer
- Kidney or Renal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
What Injuries Can Be Caused By Doctor’s Cancer Misdiagnosis
Modern medicine has made tremendous advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In most types of cancer, early detection is the key to survival, since over time cancer cells multiply and eventually spread or metastasize to different parts of the body. In addition to an increased likelihood of dying from cancer itself, delayed cancer treatment often means more invasive and aggressive treatment, increasing the chance of death or severe damage as a side effect or complication. For that reason, medical care throughout the United States seeks to diagnose and treat cancer as early as possible. Types of harm caused by a delayed misdiagnosis of cancer can include:
- Inoperable cancer
- Premature death
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Severe physical pain
- Treatment which is significantly more expensive
- Treatment that is more invasive, aggressive, and painful
- Significantly increased recovery time
- Loss of limbs or organs
- Long-term or permanent disability
- Lost wages
What Options Do Victims of Cancer Misdiagnosis have in NJ or PA?
No amount of money can make up for a person’s preventable or unnecessary death, or for the added anguish of knowing that premature death would probably have been avoided had medical providers acted properly. However, early death creates financial hardship for families, and the responsible party should bear that cost. In addition, delayed treatment of cancer creates lost wages, additional health care costs, and in some cases permanent disability.
If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their life due to what you suspect was a failure to diagnose cancer, or a misdiagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation including:
What Type of Compensation Have Victims in NJ & PA Received?
- Current and future medical bills
- Long-term disability
- Current and future loss of wages
- Long-term care expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Burial expenses
Contact A Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney Today
Collectively, New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers Michael L. Weiss, Esq. and Robert E. Paarz, Esq. have presented over 75 medical malpractice cases relating to failure to diagnose cancer to juries and have helped those families achieve substantial financial recoveries. They are committed to using their experience and knowledge to help any family or individual who has suffered a severe, permanent injury or death due to medical malpractice to obtain fair compensation. Currently, Weiss & Paarz has offices in Philadelphia, PA, Bala Cynwyd, PA, Toms River, NJ, Cherry Hill, NJ, Iselin, NJ, and Northfield, NJ. If you believe you or a loved one may have experienced such an injury, please contact Weiss & Paarz, P.C., today.
*The firm handles cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For cases outside those states, Weiss & Paarz works with local attorneys in the state where the medical care took place, at no additional cost to the client.