Skin cancer is the number one form of cancer found in the United States. However, it is also extremely treatable when diagnosed in the early stages. Prevention is often easy when an abnormal or precancerous mole is discovered by the patient or doctor during a routine exam. It can simply be biopsied (removed) before it has the time to spread to important tissues of the body such as the lymph system. Problems occur when the doctor does not notice the mole or take it seriously. A simple procedure can then develop into intense treatment.
Skin cancer forms because of repeated cellular damage to the skin cells that leads to a DNA mutation. The skin cells then split and produce abnormal cells. Many factors may combine to cause this cellular damage, including exposure to toxic substances, a poor immune system, and too much ultraviolet light. Skin cancer develops in the top layer of skin known as the epidermis There are three types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. All three have the potential to become life threatening.
Types of Skin Cancer
* Basal Cell Carcinoma: Basal cells gather deep in the epidermis in the most common form of skin cancer. Lesions may appear on the skin and can become seriously disfiguring if not caught quickly. The good news is that this type of skin cancer rarely spreads to other parts in the body.
* Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cells gather near the surface of the epidermis in this cancer that can grow and advance quickly. It begins as actinic keratosis in the early stage and can become seriously if not treated promptly. It resembles a wart or sore and should be evaluated immediately.
* Melanoma: This is the most dangerous type of skin cancers that takes the form of an abnormal mole. Fortunately, it is also the most rare and can almost always be treated with a positive outcome if discovered in the early stages. Any abnormal mole that is raised or oddly shaped may become melanoma and should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.
When evaluating possible skin cancers, doctors may misdiagnose it as eczema, irritated hair follicle, a harmless mole, or other mild skin conditions. Lack of appropriate attention on the part of the physician can result in serious, long term effects for the patients. It’s important for the doctor to evaluate all of the evidence and not overlook some information. This may include family history, risk factors, a thorough visual examination, and lab testing. They must also follow through and refer the patient to the appropriate specialist if necessary.
If you are a patient that has a form of skin cancer that was misdiagnosed by a doctor and has advanced as a result, a skilled medical malpractice lawyer may help your situation. It is the responsibility of the physician to be aware of the signs of early stage skin cancer and appropriately diagnose and treat it before it becomes a life threatening condition. When this does not happen, an experienced attorney can review the details, determine if you have a case, and recommend the best course of action. If you choose to advance with the case, your lawyer will gather evidence and develop a case to help prove the doctor is at fault. These are important steps in making sure you receive appropriate compensation for your suffering.
If this is your current situation and you live in the state of New Jersey, The Hayes Firm can help. We are a free lawyer finding service with a network of highly skilled and successful lawyers. Please contact us today if you have any questions about filing a medical malpractice case or need a recommendation for an experienced, local lawyer.