At some point in their lives, just about half of all people living in the United States will receive a diagnosis of cancer. This often signals the beginning of a difficult and courageous battle with the disease that may often claim the life of the patient. While treatment has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last twenty years, treatment is not the only key to survival. Perhaps the single most important aspect of cancer treatment and survivability is how quickly the cancer is discovered and diagnosed. The earlier it is found, the better the chance that the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Generally, the sooner a cancer is discovered, the better the chances of survival.
Why Doctors May Miss Signs of Cancer?
Cancer can hide its effects by mimicking other diseases. Some times, it is possible for a doctor to assume that symptoms that he or she sees could be something much less serious. There are other, simpler mistakes that can also be made that can lead to missing a diagnosis. This could include failing to refer the patient to a specialist who can properly diagnose the disease, or failing to order the proper diagnostic tests to determine cancer. Even if these steps are taken properly and carefully, a doctor can still fail to read the tests properly, or take the symptoms indicated by the tests to be a completely different disease.
What Can Happen When Doctors Miss Cancer Symptoms?
Timely diagnosis of cancer is perhaps the most important factor in properly saving a cancer patient’s life. The longer it takes for cancer to be diagnosed, the worse the cancer may be when it is discovered. Cancer is classified in terms of stages- “Stage 1 Prostate Cancer,” “Stage 3 Breast Cancer,” “Stage 4 Cancer of the Liver,” etc. The higher the number of the stage, the greater chance the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Also, the longer it takes for cancer to be diagnosed, the worse the prognosis for the patient. “Prognosis” is the word used in the medical profession to describe the likely outcome of an illness, in this case, cancer.
Why a Doctor May Be Legally Responsible for a Missed Cancer Diagnosis?
Depending on the specific details of each case, a doctor may be legally responsible for missing a diagnosis of cancer. If your cancer was missed by a doctor and then diagnosed only after you saw a new doctor, it is possible that the first doctor overlooked something. Cancer, as with any medical or legal case, is very focused on what might seem to be the simplest facts. These are always very important, and can make a big difference in your ultimate outcome.
Do you need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
If you or a loved one have suffered because of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer, you may want to speak with one of our Rhode Island attorneys regarding a potential claim. d’Oliveira & Associates, Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, are working with some of the leading lawyers handling Medical Malpractice.
Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.d’Oliveira & Associates
Providence, RI 02909
Phone: (401) 831-8600