Currently cancer afflicts a massive segment of the American population. The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 1.6 million new diagnoses of cancer in 2012, and almost 600,000 deaths from cancer. That breaks down to more than 1,500 people a day, which is a staggering number, and accounts for one in four deaths in the US.
Correct treatment is crucial to lowering these numbers and ensuring that you aren’t one of the unlucky ones who succumb to this debilitating disease. Cancer is tricky, and once it metastasizes (spreads from its original point of origin), it can be much harder to treat. As most of us know, when and how the cancer is diagnosed plays heavily into chances of survival, and discovering that you have suffered from a misdiagnosis can be devastating.
Missing a Cancer Diagnosis
Unfortunately, misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose can occur in almost every cancer case, among them:
- breast cancer
- lung cancer
- cervical cancer
- prostate cancer
- ovarian cancer
- skin cancer
- colon cancer
- pancreatic cancer
Misdiagnoses or missed diagnoses can occur for any number of reasons, including:
- confusing a benign tumor with a malignant one or vice versa
- misreading a biopsy
- failing to refer a patient for specialized testing
- misreading of tissue specimen
- failure to heed patient complaints
- failure to understand the underlying condition
- incorrect assessment of the cancer’s stage
- incorrect assessment of the cancer’s location
Even if cancer is found, the victim may suffer from a number of incorrect assessments that could negatively impact treatment. A doctor might erroneously identify breast cancer as noninvasive, for instance, when it is actually invasive, indicating that the doctor would need to look beyond the breast to fully treat. A late diagnosis could shave precious years off a woman’s life and require her to undergo higher doses of radiation and chemotherapy.
Incorrect Diagnosis of Cancer
It isn’t only cancer victims who can suffer from a misdiagnosis, either. Often a misdiagnosis occurs in the opposite direction, informing a patient that they have the disease when in fact they do not. This can lead to debilitating courses of chemotherapy and even removal of organs, as in the case of Jennifer Rufer, who lost her uterus to hysterectomy unnecessarily.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. This is a difficult area, however, and seeking immediate help is prudent. First, if you have not done so already, get a second opinion. If it differs from the original, get a third. Order more medical tests and be sure you feel comfortable that you’ve gotten a correct diagnosis. Then talk to an attorney about what your options are going forward.
We know that dealing with your misdiagnosis requires an enormous amount of time and effort. Let us help you deal with your unique situation; our experience and the individualized attention we give to each and every client will help. Contact us to speak to one of our attorneys today.