When it comes to a cancer diagnosis, early treatment usually leads to the best outcome. However, sometimes an error in diagnosis by a medical professional can lead to a delayed diagnosis. The implications of a delayed cancer diagnosis can be tragic. It may result in delayed treatment or no treatment at all.
If cancer is not diagnosed as soon as possible, it can result in the cancer being spread throughout the body which will result in the need for more intense treatment. A patient’s prognosis is entirely dependent on when the cancer is diagnosed. If cancer is allowed to spread and grow to Stage 3 or Stage 4, there may be no options for the patient.
What Causes Diagnostic Delays?
Most delayed cancer diagnoses are the result of medical negligence. There are many tests and diagnostic tools that a doctor can use to identify and diagnose cancer. If these tools aren’t used properly, it may constitute medical malpractice. Common causes of a delayed cancer diagnosis include:
- Failure to take an adequate patient history
- Failure to attach appropriate significance to a patient’s symptoms or complaints
- Failing to check at-risk patients routinely
- Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests
- Misreading diagnostic test results
- Mistaking symptoms as another condition
Most Frequently Misdiagnosed Cancers
The most commonly misdiagnosed cancers include:
- Colorectal Cancer—colon cancer is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms can mimic other more benign conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. Doctors need to order the appropriate diagnostic tests in order to properly identify colon cancer early.
- Breast Cancer—the misreading of a mammogram or other diagnostic test is a frequent cause of delayed breast cancer diagnosis.
- Lung Cancer—in some instances a doctor may not recognize the seriousness of a patient’s symptoms, which can sometimes mimic an upper respiratory infection, during a quick doctor visit. Lung cancer is also frequently misdiagnosed as asthma, COPD, or gastric reflux disease.
- Prostate Cancer—one of the most common forms of cancer, prostate cancer is highly treatable if detected early. A failure to order proper testing or recognize the symptoms of prostate cancer can lead to a delayed diagnosis.
- Cervical Cancer—can be detected early by regular pap smears performed at routine examinations. Overlooking symptoms and a misreading of a pap smear can prevent an early diagnosis
- Ovarian Cancer—when faced with the symptoms of ovarian cancer it is essential that a doctor order the correct diagnostic tests and exams.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve suffered from a delayed cancer diagnosis, you should have an experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.