Is lung cancer misdiagnosis medical malpractice?
When doctors miss lung cancer, they delay a patient’s treatment. This can allow the cancer to spread to other areas of the body.
New York, NY — According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, making up 13 percent of all new cancer cases. Lung cancer is also the second most common form of cancer among both men and women. Each year, there are about 228,000 new cases of lung cancer. Annually, over 142,000 people die from lung cancer.
Although other common types of cancer are routinely screened for in patients at risk, this is rarely the case for lung cancer. The majority of doctors don’t perform any type of testing unless a patient presents with certain symptoms. Symptoms include a cough that won’t go away, chest pain, wheezing, coughing up blood, bone pain, and persistent headaches.
Because these symptoms can mimic other illnesses such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, or lung nodules, lung cancer can be mistaken for other diseases.
As with all cancers, early detection and prompt treatment are important for improving long-term survival rates. Because lung cancer tends to develop in people who are older, as well as people who smoke or have smoked in the past, doctors can sometimes dismiss lung cancer as a possible cause of symptoms in people who don’t fit into these categories, even though lung cancer can and does affect other demographics.
When doctors miss lung cancer, they delay a patient’s treatment. This can allow the cancer to spread to other areas of the body. It also subjects the patient to more aggressive and more invasive treatment in the future. In the most devastating cases, a patient dies because their doctor misdiagnosed their lung cancer. In other cases, a doctor diagnoses a patient with lung cancer by mistake. This can lead to invasive treatments that cause a patient unnecessary pain, stress, and even harm.
Tests vary among practitioners, as well as according to the needs of the patient. Some of the most common tests and screenings used to detect lung cancer include MRIs, PET scans, x-rays, and biopsies. Doctors may also perform a sputum analysis or a bronchoscopy if they suspect a patient may have lung cancer. None of these methods are foolproof, so doctors should perform extra testing if they are uncertain.
If you have experienced a lung cancer misdiagnosis, or your doctor diagnosed you with lung cancer by mistake, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. There are time limits for filing a medical malpractice claim, so don’t wait to speak to a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer about your options.
Visit Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC Manhattan, NY office here.