Cancer impacts a large portion of the United States (U.S.) population each year. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 1,685,210 new cases of cancer occur each year and more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. relate to cancer or complications from cancer. When a doctor does not diagnose your cancer at an early stage, the risk to your health increases and you are more likely to face complications or severe health concerns. In some cases, a delay in the diagnosis of cancer results in the death of a loved one.
Catching Cancer Early
A key factor that impacts survival during cancer treatment is the stage of cancer at diagnosis. Early stages of cancer allow doctors to treat and manage the development of the malignant cells and reduce the risk of spreading and growth.
By catching the cancer early, a doctor increases your survival rate exponentially and reduces the risk of death. As the cancer advances and grows, you have a higher risk of complications or death. Any delay in your diagnosis raises concerns about your health and the possibility of success during treatment.
Delayed diagnosis refers to any situation that prevents a doctor from identifying cancer and starting a treatment plan. If you go through regular preventative care, then you should have a limited risk of a delay in your diagnosis. For example, during a women’s wellness exam, a doctor checks for tumors or suspicious lumps that raise concerns about cancer.
Factors that contribute to a delayed diagnosis include:
- Poor follow-up when a doctor notices something odd during a routine wellness exam
- Poor disclosure of information to the patient
- Diagnostic errors, including an inaccurate diagnosis
- Missed diagnosis
Any time that your doctor does not inform you of potential risks or does not encourage a follow-up appointment when he or she notices something odd, it delays your diagnosis. Furthermore, errors that a doctor makes, such as an inaccurate diagnosis or missing the signs of cancer completely, results in a potentially fatal delay.
Medical malpractice refers to the legal term when a doctor’s errors cause harm to a patient. In the case of cancer diagnosis and delays related to your doctor’s behavior, an attorney uses the facts provided in your case to determine if a doctor had an opportunity to catch the cancer in an earlier stage. Errors that might result in a lawsuit range from inaccurate diagnosis to completely overlooking the symptoms of cancer while evaluating your health. Failure to disclose information about potential tumors or signs of cancer can also delay treatment and contribute to health complications.
Delayed diagnosis of cancer puts you or a loved one at risk of severe health complications or death. A lawyer can help with your lawsuit and settlement based on the details of your situation and the potential complications that occur as a result of the delay in treatment. Early diagnosis helps you treat the symptoms and allows the cancer to go into remission, which means that it stops growing. Delayed diagnosis allows the cancer to grow and spread throughout your body. Once the cancer gets to stage 4, the treatment options available to address the cancer reduce.
According to the National Institutes of Health, doctors must follow high ethical and medical standards when providing care to patients. They must provide appropriate care and follow-up with patients when they notice something odd about test results or during routine wellness exams. When your doctor delays a diagnosis of cancer, you can seek legal representation for medical malpractice.
Cancer is a serious threat to your health and well-being. Any diagnosis delay from your doctor or team of doctors causes unnecessary pain and discomfort. When you have any concerns about the way that your doctor addresses the symptoms that you describe or delays the diagnosis of cancer until you have a high risk of complications, fill out our free case evaluation form or call today to speak to a lawyer.