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When a Physician Fails to Diagnose Cancer in a Patient

By Heidi Culbertson
June 1, 2021
3 min read

Doctors and other health care professionals have an ethical and legal responsibility to provide reasonably competent medical care. Competent medical care includes providing patients with timely and accurate diagnoses.

When a physician fails to diagnose cancer in a patient, this typically indicates that the patient exhibited symptoms of the disease, but a cancer diagnosis was not conveyed. When a patient has suffered due to a misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose cancer, the patient has the right to seek compensation from the responsible parties.

Failing to Diagnose Cancer Can Cause Significant Harm

A physician’s failure to diagnose an illness is not uncommon among medical malpractice claims. Failing to diagnose a disease as invasive as cancer can be particularly harmful since some cancers are quite treatable in the early stages but others are more challenging to treat as the disease progresses. Typically, an early cancer diagnosis means less invasive treatments and a better chance for a full recovery. When there is a delay in a patient’s cancer diagnosis, the results can be devastating.

Misdiagnosing Cancer Can Have Devastating Results

It is important to note that while the methods for cancer diagnosis have significantly improved over the last decade, the amount of time that physicians spend with their patients has lessened over time. Patients often visit their doctor with problems that are minimized or ignored by the physician until the patient’s symptoms become impossible to manage.

A misdiagnosis can happen with any kind of cancer, and it is difficult to determine how many deaths occur each year in this country due to a physician’s failure to deliver a timely diagnosis. One of the most significant risks of cancer is that it can metastasize and quickly attack other organs and tissues within the body if it is not diagnosed in its early stages. A cancer diagnosis needs to be both timely and accurate.

When a physician fails to diagnose cancer or misdiagnoses cancer, then consequences extend beyond the typical injuries that result from this kind of negligence. Any delay in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer can limit the effectiveness of the treatment or even kill the patient.

If You Have Suffered From Undiagnosed Cancer

If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of a medical professional’s failure to detect cancer at an early stage, please contact Scott Eldredge and the medical malpractice department of Burg Simpson now to arrange for a free consultation. Our medical malpractice team will review your failure to diagnose cancer claim and help you determine how to proceed with your case.

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