What Is Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Cancer misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosing cancer can occur for a number of reasons, including but 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 cancer screening standards, failure to appropriately follow up on or adequately address various types of test or imaging results, failure to facilitate referrals to specialists who would have likely picked up a cancer at an earlier stage, and so on. Where these failures constitute medical malpractice, a cancer misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosing cancer can cost a patient 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. 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 Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?
A suspicion of cancer may come up through a routine physical examination, due to results of cancer screening testing or other laboratory tests, or because of symptoms which 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. Cancer can be overlooked or misdiagnosed in many ways including:
- 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
Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis
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 which 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
Injuries Caused by 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 the 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 delayed damage of cancer can include:
- Inoperable cancer
- Premature death
- Scaring and disfigurement
- Severe physical pain
- Treatment which is significantly more expensive
- Treatment which is more invasive, aggressive, and painful
- Significantly increased recovery time
- Loss of limbs or organs
- Long-term or permanent disability
- Lost wages
What To Do After A Cancer Misdiagnosis
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 a 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 or delayed diagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation including:
- 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 Us About A Cancer Misdiagnosis Case
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. 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.