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What is a Failure to Diagnose Cancer?

There are millions of people all over the world who are diagnosed with cancer every year, and many more that lose their battle with the disease. The National Cancer Institute states that during their lifetime, one out of every two people will be diagnosed with some type of cancer. If cancer is detected early enough, it can be treatable through a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and certain drugs. But it is important that it is detected and diagnosed in an early stage, so that effective treatment gives the patient a good chance of survival.

Failure to Diagnose

There are times that health care professionals and doctors may not identify the early symptoms and signs of cancer and may fail to diagnose it in a patient in a timely manner. This could result not only in permanent injury, but also high chances of death. If a trained medical professional or physician has failed to efficiently diagnose the presence of cancer in a patient, it may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Early detection is one of the main factors in successfully batting cancer. Most often, the symptoms of cancer tend to mimic other medical conditions, causing physicians to diagnose them to be less serious conditions and therefore ignore the necessity to carry out appropriate tests. Tests such as biopsies, mammograms, and PSA tests have been successful in the early detection of cancer.

There are other instances, wherein medical practitioners might misread the results of a biopsy or an imaging test. This too, is considered a failure to diagnose. The delay in diagnosing the cancer in a timely manner might lead to a lowered effectiveness of a treatment procedure, or at times, can even lead to a patient wrongful and untimely death.

Most Commonly Overlooked Cancers

There are many types of cancers whose diagnosis are either delayed or incorrectly identified, leading to failure to diagnose. They are:

  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Rectal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer

Breast Cancer and its Early Detection

Like all other cancers, the key to battling breast cancer is detecting it early. The symptoms of cancer can be quite similar to other types of medical conditions. That is why it is essential to attain a proper check-up, complete with the necessary tests. Medical professionals most commonly use biopsies and mammograms for the detection of breast cancer. If they misread these tests, it could have adverse consequences.

How to identify if You Qualify for a Medical Malpractice Claim

A medical malpractice lawsuit might be in order if your health care practitioner:

  • Did not diagnose the condition in time
  • Did not conduct the appropriate tests for diagnosis
  • Did not interpret the results properly
  • Did not ask for medical or family history
  • Did not issue treatment in time
  • Did not prescribe proper treatment
  • Misdiagnosed the cancer

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Firm Attorney, Robert H. Wolff is now the president of the New York City Bronx County Bar Association
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