Failure to Timely Diagnose Cancer
Holding Negligent Physicians Responsible for Medical Mistakes
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a life changing event. The Kentucky Cancer Registry shows that about 521 or every 100,000 people in the state of Kentucky are living with some form of invasive cancer. If the cancer was misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in a timely manner by a physician, it can have even greater consequences. Early diagnosis is the most effective weapon a patient has when battling cancer. Delays can mean much more invasive treatment or even death. Cancers are staged (stage I, stage II, etc.) and with each stage comes an increased likelihood of recurrence (the cancer coming back) and a decreased prognosis (likelihood of survival). Additionally, the longer a cancer tumor grows, the more time it has to metastasize or spread. Obviously, a cancer that spreads is more difficult to treat.
Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis
In the past twenty years, more Americans have died from cancer than the combined casualties from the world’s major wars and conflicts. In fact, Kentucky has the highest mortality rates from cancer in the nation (based on 2007 data). Additionally,Kentuckians have a 50% higher rate for lung cancer than other Americans. Statistics like these indicate the importance of proactive cancer treatment and diagnosis in the bluegrass state. Some of the common areas of cancer misdiagnoses include:
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
- Colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Brain tumors
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Skin cancer/melanoma
- Non Hodgkin – Lymphoma
- Thyroid cancer
How do Doctors Fail to Diagnose Cancer?
When medical professionals fail to timely diagnose cancer, it can be a case of medical malpractice if the doctor is negligent in his or her care. Misdiagnosis or delayed cancer diagnosis may be the result of many factors:
- Failure or delay in ordering proper diagnostic testing
- Failure to interpret test results correctly
- Errors in laboratory or radiology procedures/processing
- Incorrect diagnosis of the patient’s symptoms
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
While less common, misdiagnosis can also happen when a doctor diagnoses a patient with cancer, when in fact, the patient is cancer free. In these cases of medical malpractice, patients may have suffered anxiety, incurred huge medical costs and endured cancer treatments that were completely unnecessary.
Contact the Louisville Medical Malpractice Team at Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC
Mistakes in the diagnosis of cancer can severely affect cancer treatment options and the patient’s chances of recovery or survival. Patients may then be subject to prolonged mental anguish, illness during treatment, pain and suffering, not to mention increased medical expenses. Brett Oppenheimer, attorney, has worked with Kentuckians who have cancer and have not been diagnosed in a timely manner by their medical professionals (Click here to see more specifics on Brett’s client cases). If you believe you suffered a delay or failure to timely diagnose cancer and you would like to consult a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer, you may contact Brett Oppenheimer, or call at (502)749-5700.