It is hard to think about doctors making mistakes or missing diagnoses that may be detectable. However, it does happen. One of the diseases with the highest percentage of delayed or missed diagnoses is cancer.
Unfortunately, cancer claims the lives of many. The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 600,000 individuals will die from cancer in 2018. Cancer can seem the most devastating, because survival tends to rest on catching the symptoms before it is too late or using very aggressive forms of treatment. When a doctor misses the signs of cancer, the consequences can be devastating.
Cancers most often missed/ left undiagnosed
The law can hold doctors negligent for a patient’s delayed diagnosis of cancer if the medical professional had the opportunity to diagnose the disease but failed to do so. There are a few types of cancers that are more commonly delayed in diagnosis, which include:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
It is difficult to pinpoint why these cancers are the most commonly missed. However, common errors in diagnosing cancer in general include ignoring symptoms or dismissing them for another cause, lab mistakes and improper referrals. If you suspect that you are exhibiting symptoms of cancer and your doctor is not diagnosing them, finding a second opinion may be beneficial.
Can you prove medical malpractice?
If you are in a situation where your cancer was undiagnosed by a doctor, or seriously delayed in diagnosis, you may be able to seek compensation via medical malpractice suit. In order to do so, you need to prove that there was a doctor/ patient relationship, that the doctor acted negligently (i.e. did not diagnose cancer when posed with cancerous signs), and the negligence led to injury on the patient’s behalf.