Failing to diagnose cancer as soon as possible can result in serious complications and life-threatening conditions. In most cases, individuals have a higher rate of survival when a doctor diagnoses the cancer in its early stages. However, what happens when a doctor fails to diagnose cancer? Should you contact a Nashville malpractice attorney to discuss filing a lawsuit or a claim?
How Do Doctors Diagnose Cancer?
Often, the diagnosis of cancer begins with a routine office visit with a patient who is complaining of one or more symptoms. Unfortunately, there is not an all-encompassing test that a doctor can perform that detects all forms of cancer.
Doctors must perform a thorough medical examination and review the patient’s medical history to determine what diagnostic tests to perform. In some cases, a physical exam may lead a doctor to suspect cancer, even though the patient may not have any other symptoms, such as feeling a lump in the breast or detecting swelling of a lymph node.
Diagnostic tests and procedures rule out or confirm a doctor’s suspicion of a cancer diagnosis. The facts of the case dictate the tests ordered. Tests may include one or more of the following:
- Lab Tests, such as a urinalysis, blood tests, tumor markers, and CBC (complete blood count) tests.
- Diagnostic imaging tests may include X-rays, bone scans, mammograms, CT scans, lymphangiogram, ultrasounds, MRIs, and endoscopic procedures.
- Genetic testing searches for mutations in genes or common markers that indicate an increased risk of certain cancers.
- Biopsies are another common test used to diagnose cancer by removing cells or tissues from the areas to examine under a microscope.
Other tests may be required to assist the physician in determining whether a patient has cancer.
How Can a Doctor Fail to Diagnose Cancer?
Failing to perform the required tests because of the expense or the doctor’s negligence can be malpractice. Misinterpreting the results from diagnostic tests may also be malpractice. Doctors may also fail to listen to a patient’s complaints and symptoms, research the symptoms, or refer the patient to a specialist. In a few cases, pure negligence and disregard for the patient’s well-being and health could result in missing a cancer diagnosis.
The Impact of Failing to Diagnose Cancer on the Patient
As mentioned above, your best chance of beating cancer is detecting cancer early. If your doctor fails to diagnose cancer for any reason, your chance of survival may decrease. You may be required to undergo painful and expensive therapy that might have been a secondary or third option had the cancer been detected earlier. In some cases, cancer may spread throughout the body, decreasing the odds of survival, increasing the cost of treatment, and increasing the chance of permanent impairment.
The worst result of failing to diagnose cancer properly is the patient’s life is cut short because of the doctor’s negligence and malpractice.
What Should You Do If Your Doctor Failed to Diagnose Cancer?
You should contact a Tennessee malpractice attorney right away. As with other medical malpractice claims, you need an experienced attorney to investigate the matter to determine if malpractice occurred. You also need an attorney with experience handling these types of cases who understands the elements required to prove malpractice and the evidence needed to prove each of the legal requirements.
You deserve answers. Our Tennessee malpractice attorneys want to help you uncover the truth about your cancer diagnosis. Contact us today for a consultation today for compassionate advice.
Posted in: Cancer Misdiagnosis