Most forms of cancer are progressive. Without treatment, they get worse over time. What starts out as a tumor affecting one organ or type of tissue can metastasize and spread throughout the body. There are dozens of different kinds of cancer that affect everything from skin to organ linings. There are multiple forms of cancer capable of attacking the same body part.
Each form of cancer affects the body differently and requires a different approach to treatment. Sadly, doctors sometimes fail to diagnose a patient with cancer until it is too late. Substantial diagnostic delays can be the difference between being able to have a tumor surgically removed or having no treatment options at all. Why do doctors fail to diagnose such serious conditions as cancer?
One day, you get out of bed and discover a number of itchy red bumps on your arm. You apply some topical cream and go about your day. However, they continue to spread. Eventually, you go to the doctor. Maybe they tell you that you have shingles or scabies.
What they don’t do is actually look into the condition enough to give you an affirmative diagnosis. Only when you start having other symptoms does the doctor realize it is a rash commonly associated with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This kind of situation happens far more than it should.
The diagnostic process demands that doctors rule out all other causes before reaching a determination. Unfortunately, doctors often skip the process of elimination and jump to conclusions. While the vast majority of people presenting with a cough may just have a minor cold, sometimes the cost is an early warning sign of lung cancer.
Doctors should never ignore symptoms reported by patients or assume what causes them. Doing so can mean missing the opportunity to treat someone and possibly save their life.
A doctor’s mistake can cost someone’s life and deprive a family of someone they love. Medical malpractice claims brought against doctors who failed to diagnose serve two different purposes.
First of all, they create concrete consequences for failing significantly in their duty to a patient, as well as a record that can serve as a warning for other potential patients in the future. Secondly, a medical malpractice claim brought against someone who failed to diagnose cancer can help compensate the victim or their surviving family members.
An insurance payout or successful civil lawsuit could connect a family with resources to replace lost wages and cover some of the medical bills incurred due to the cancer.