Medical Malpractice

Failure To Diagnose Cancer

When diagnosed early, most forms of cancer have a relatively high recovery rate. As a general rule, the greater the delay in diagnosis, the more invasive and painful the treatments, and the lower the chances of full recovery.

The effects of a delayed cancer diagnosis can be devastating and may include serious injury, pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, and even death.

While methods for diagnosing cancer have improved over the years, the time doctors spend with their patients has decreased. Sometimes patients come to their doctors with concerns about their health, reporting worrisome symptoms, only to have their concerns ignored and their conditions left undiagnosed until symptoms become worse. In cases of cancer, this delay in diagnosis can have devastating effects on the patient.

Some of the most common types of cancer involved in failures to diagnose include:

Breast cancer: This type of cancer can be very effectively treated during its early stages, but many diagnoses are missed until the cancer has progressed beyond early stages. Failure to detect breast cancer in a timely manner can mean the patient is subjected to a lengthy, painful course of treatment that may result in loss of one or both breasts, or death of the patient.

Colon cancer: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. If early symptoms such as rectal bleeding are ignored and colon cancer left undiagnosed, the prognosis for patients can be grim.

Cervical cancer: A type of cancer easily detectable by pap smear. The survival rates are quite high if detected in early stages, but errors in screening and misinterpretation of results can cause a failure to diagnose cancer that may lead to infertility or death.

Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer responds very well to early treatment, but can be debilitating and even deadly if early symptoms are ignored and necessary screenings are neglected.

Esophageal cancer: Esophageal cancer, in its early stages, causes unique symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and chronic cough. Doctors who ignore these symptoms and fail to test for the presence of esophageal cancer put their patients at great unnecessary risk.

With any type of cancer, the prognosis is better the earlier the cancer is detected and the sooner treatment is begun. It is of utmost importance that medical professionals screen patients with known risk factors and thoroughly test any patient who presents with early symptoms of cancer.

Failure to diagnose cancer can result in serious damages to the patient and his or her family, including but not limited to:

  • Injuries and disability as a result of the cancer itself or of the treatment of later stage cancers
  • Medical bills incurred by the more extensive treatments required at later stages
  • Other medical care, including home and hospice care
  • Lost wages due to the cancer and treatment
  • Emotional and financial losses to the family, as a result of the death or disability of the cancer patient

If you or someone you love has suffered a more significant case of cancer as a result of a medical professional’s failure to detect cancer at an early stage, please call or email us today to schedule your free initial consultation. We’ll review your failure to diagnose cancer claim and help you determine how to best proceed. We represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, Colorado, Wyoming, and throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.


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