Why a delay in a cancer diagnosis can impact a patient’s care 

You know something isn’t right because you feel tired, you have inexplicable sores on your skin or other symptoms that just won’t seem to go away. You go to your doctor and explain to them what you’ve experienced, and they either diagnose you with some minor condition or advise you to wait the symptoms out. 

Unfortunately, when they don’t go away, you eventually return or go to a different physician who recognizes the signs of a potentially serious issue. Soon enough, you get an affirmative diagnosis that you have cancer. Unfortunately, that delay in diagnosis could have drastic implications for your recovery.

Cancer can spread quickly in some cases

Depending on when doctors find and diagnose your cancer, they usually describe it by stating what stage it is in. Stage I is the earliest and easiest to treat, while Stages III and IV are often difficult to treat or terminal. 

For aggressive and fast-growing forms of cancer,  a few months of delay in diagnosis could make the difference between someone having Stage II and Stage IV cancer. A doctor failing to diagnose you or ignoring your symptoms could be the difference between localized cancer and one that has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body.

Delayed diagnosis may reduce your treatment options

The way that medical professionals treat cancer has improved in recent decades. If you catch the cancer early, it may be possible to have a gamma knife procedure that removes individual tumors or undergo immunotherapy that lets your body fight the cancer off without more aggressive treatments. 

As your cancer progresses and your prognosis worsens, the number of treatment options you have will decrease. The options you have will likely be more drastic and have a greater impact on your health and quality of life. 

Taking patients’ symptoms seriously and ruling out all potential causes of symptoms is part of the diagnostic process. When a doctor fails to diagnose you, that could be a form of medical malpractice that you can hold them accountable for because of the impact it will have on your life.