Some of the most terrifying words that an individual can hear from their physician are, “you have cancer”.
After finding out that you or a loved one has cancer, many questions often arise, most notably:
- Is it something that the physician should have recognized earlier?
- If it had been treated appropriately and at the appropriate time, what difference would it have made?
This article explores the danger of delayed and misdiagnosis of cancer.
Early Diagnosis Matters
When a patient goes to the doctor’s office, they typically have two concerns:
- They want to know what’s wrong with them
- They want to be treated
If that first question isn’t answered accurately or in a timely manner, then an important window of time to effectively treat the condition may pass and my close permanently.
Cancer is a condition where the cure rate is much higher the earlier you catch it. Regrettably, however, there are many circumstances where doctors and health care providers work in a manner that causes there to be a significant delay in the diagnosis of cancer, or that causes the cancer to be misdiagnosed as something else.
Whether that means misreading a mammogram, misreading a pap smear, not ordering the proper tests, or misreading that test, there are many aspects that can give rise to a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
The tragedy in these cases is that a number of types of cancer, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer are treatable and, in most in instances, curable if they are diagnosed early. However, if the delay takes months or years, the prognosis in such cases may be very poor.
Expertise is Required
Sometimes, a delay or misdiagnosis can occur even in the best of circumstances. And sometimes, even when this was due to negligence, it may not have produced a significant change in the outcome.
Sometimes, the answers to these questions are very simple and very obvious. However, far more often the answers to these questions are very complicated and require the expertise of specialists who focuses in the area of medicine specialization under review.
Because cases involving a failure to diagnose cancer are often very complicated, they require a very delicate interplay between the area of medical specialization––mammography, radiology, pathology––and medical experts, such as an oncologist, who can testify that the delay in diagnosis has caused there to be an outcome that is more grave than what would have been if the diagnosis had been made properly.
How an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist you in having your medical records reviewed by a medical expert to determine whether or not a diagnosis in your case should have been made earlier, and whether it would have made a difference in your outcome.
A medical expert can answer your questions in an authoritative manner and bring the kind of expertise to a medical malpractice case that establishes instant credibility with the medical insurers who cover the hospital and the doctor. This can make it a lot easier for your attorney to obtain for you the kind of compensation you deserve.