Failure to diagnose cancer

Getting a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming.  However, the key to surviving cancer is through early detection, diagnosis, and subsequent treatment.  A failure to diagnose cancer on the part of your primary physician, radiologist, or oncologist may cause you to be deprived of medical treatment that can compromise your health and your chances of life saving action.

A delay in diagnosis can give the cancer a chance to grow and metastasize to other parts of your body which can reduce your chances of survival and subject you to the unwanted side effects from chemotherapy and radiation that could have been avoided if you’re cancer had been detected in its early stages.

Failure to diagnose cancer is one of the most common of medical malpractice claims, although not every delay, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose are grounds for malpractice. Many factors need to be taken into consideration such as the type of cancer, the presenting symptoms, the stage of the disease, and what your doctors did and didn’t do.

While some cancers such as ovarian, pancreatic, and small-cell lung cancers have a low survival rate even with early detection, the most common cancers that are misdiagnosed are colon, breast, and prostate cancer which are very treatable if diagnosed in the early stages. Failure to properly diagnose these cancers can give them a chance to metastasize, reducing treatment options and your chances of survival.

Documentation for your case

Factors that can contribute to a failure to diagnose cancer or a misdiagnosis include:

  • Ignoring patient complaints
  • Failing to order blood tests or scans
  • Failing to perform appropriate procedures such as a colonoscopy or biopsy
  • Misreading of x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostics
  • Misdiagnosis of something other than cancer
  • Failing to refer patients to an oncologist

A misdiagnosis of cancer can also result in a patient receiving unnecessary treatment including amputation, radiation, chemotherapy, or mastectomy.

In order to win damages and secure adequate compensation, it’s not enough to show that the medical professional(s) involved ignored or failed to diagnose your cancer. You have to be able to prove that a timely diagnosis would have resulted in a significantly better outcome.

To make a determination of negligence on the part of the medical professional who failed to diagnose your cancer, his or her actions will be compared to those of other medical professionals of similar or same specialization, experience, and medical qualifications when it comes to providing a standard of care in this particular situation.  If the actions of the medical professional in question don’t meet the standard of care, then it may be determined that negligence was involved.

Taking legal action

If you feel that you or a loved one was a victim of a failure to diagnose cancer, you need to consult a medical malpractice attorney with experience in cancer misdiagnosis.  Scott S. Harris, medical malpractice attorney in San Diego, represent clients with medical malpractice claims involving cancer misdiagnosis, including those involving radiology errors.

Contact Scott S. Harris to schedule your free consultation.