Is there anything that instills as much fear as a cancer diagnosis? This is the kind of news that no one wants to receive from their doctor. In 2016 it was reported that there would be 1,685,210 new cases of cancer in the US and 595,690 people would succumb to the disease. Among the most common cancers are breast, prostate, bronchus, lung and colon cancers.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Hospital on 6,000 tissue samples from cancer patients concluded that one out of 71 cases was misdiagnosed. This occurred when a biopsy was labeled cancerous when it was not; it was also found out that one out five cancer cases was misclassified.
Cancer misdiagnoses can result from various scenarios
- Someone is diagnosed with cancer and later they come to discover that they do not have the disease.
- Delay in diagnosing cancer or a late diagnosis; this occurs when someone diagnosed with cancer has reason enough to question if the disease should have been diagnosed earlier.
With cancer being a disease that can progress rapidly you are likely to receive a better prognosis if it is diagnosed early and treatment starts immediately. Delayed diagnosis of cancer considerably affects the progression of the disease, and this delay can be considered malpractice or more accurately medical negligence.
Common causes of missed or delayed cancer diagnosis
- Improper testing
- Doctor fails to screen an increased risk patient
- Cancerous mass is misdiagnosed as non-cancerous.
- Cancerous lesion is missed in a biopsy
- Cancerous tumor incorrectly classified for aggressiveness.
- Improper handling, reading, and interpretation of specimen
Implications of Late Diagnosis of Cancer
- Late cancer diagnosis will cause the disease to spread causing it to be less treatable, reduces chances of survival and increases the cost of treatment.
- Missed or late diagnosis of cancer not only causes emotional and financial strain to the patient but the family as well.
How is cancer misdiagnosis prevented?
The healthcare provider must offer quality service to patients. As a patient, you also play a critical role in preventing misdiagnosis and late diagnosis. You should always furnish your doctor with all information regarding any symptoms you are experiencing even if they seem trivial to you. One missed symptom can be the difference between misdiagnosis and successful cancer diagnosis and treatment.
How do you deal with misdiagnosis or late diagnosis?
After discovering your doctor misdiagnosed you, you should first commence treatment for your condition. After you are on track with your health, there are several things you can do to recover financially. First and foremost evidence presented must prove that another doctor handling the case wouldn’t have made the delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Your doctor is expected to provide a certain standard of care and failure to get the right diagnosis can be considered malpractice.
As you plan to take legal action, it is advised that you gather all documentation with all the information pertaining to the late diagnosis or delayed diagnosis. You should also keep track of all documents that show the new diagnosis and course of treatment. Maintain records of all tests you paid for, medication prescribed to treat the incorrect condition. Gathering all relevant documentation gives you a better chance of proving your case.
Get Legal Help
Consult a medical malpractice attorney to chart the best legal course of action to recover your losses. Proving malpractice or negligence can be difficult therefore it is important that you get legal help from an experienced attorney.