Cancer is considered a leading cause of death. Every year millions of people are diagnosed with cancer. Of those people, hundreds of thousands do not survive. It has been estimated that, during a person’s lifetime, one out of every two people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. If caught early, many types of cancer are readily treatable. However, the window for catching the cancer in its beginning stages if narrow. Regardless, it is important because early detection and diagnosis of cancer can mean the difference between whether the patient will survive or not.
Doctors and health care providers sometimes do fail to detect early signs and symptoms of cancer. Unfortunately, this failure can result in permanent injury, such as the increased likelihood of the cancer returning and/or death. Physicians who fail to diagnose cancer timely or fail to properly treat the patient’s cancer may be liable for medical malpractice.
Cancer can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms for the various types of cancer will often mimic other conditions, causing physicians to sometimes overlook important indicators and fail to order the appropriate tests. A physician could also misread imaging test or biopsy results. Failure to provide the appropriate diagnosis can lessen the effectiveness of treatment, potentially leading to the untimely wrongful death of the patient.
There are many types of cancers that a physician may fail to diagnose, inducing:
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Kidney (renal) cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer (melanomas)
- Uterine cancer
Physicians may be liable for medical malpractice if they:
- Failed to order the correct diagnostic tests;
- Failed to properly read test results;
- Failed to interpret the test results properly;
- Failed to take an adequate family or medical history of the patient;
- Misdiagnosed the cancer;
- Failed to correctly diagnose the cancer in a timely manner;
- Did not order treatment in a timely manner; and/or
- Prescribed improper treatment.
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