Many cancers are treatable when caught in a timely manner by a medical professional and addressed properly with the right medical care. Correct diagnosis depends on appropriately ruling out the most serious conditions and determining what the symptoms mean; doctors are trained and paid to methodically arrive at a proper assessment of what is wrong with a patient. A physician’s failure to properly diagnose cancer can mean the difference between life and death.
If you, a loved one, or your family members were improperly diagnosed — or not diagnosed at all — you may have the basis for a medical negligence case. Victims of this type of medical malpractice may be awarded financial compensation for their losses. Our personal injury lawyers can help you obtain that compensation if your situation calls for it.
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What Is A Cancer Misdiagnosis?
When people develop symptoms they suspect could be cancer, they expect a timely diagnosis and cancer treatment as both are vital in remission from cancer. Unfortunately, some doctors miss the signs early on. Cancer misdiagnosis or a delay in receiving a proper diagnosis allows the disease to spread. By the time a doctor makes a correct diagnosis, it could be too late to save the patient’s life.
Some of the most common forms of cancer misdiagnosis include:
- Diagnosing the wrong type of cancer: In this situation, a doctor diagnoses a patient with one type of cancer when he or she actually has a different type.
- Failure to diagnose: This could include misinterpretation of test results, failing to order the correct tests based on the patient’s self-reported symptoms, or not ordering a screening test based on the patient’s age or other characteristics that increase his or her risk for developing a certain type of cancer.
- False-positive reporting of cancer: It can be equally devastating to patients to be diagnosed with cancer when they do not actually have it or when they have an entirely different disease instead.
Regardless of your specific situation, you have the right to hire a cancer misdiagnosis attorney to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. New York medical malpractice laws regarding misdiagnosis typically give patients 30 months to initiate a claim.
Cancer Diagnostic Errors
In a medical malpractice case based on diagnostic error, the patient must prove that a doctor of similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would most likely have timely diagnosed the patient’s condition.
In other words:
- The doctor, pathologist, or Oncologists did not include this clear concern on their differential diagnosis list while a reasonably skillful and competent doctor under similar circumstances would have.
- The doctor fails to perform appropriate tests or seek opinions from specialists in order to investigate the particular diagnosis for the medical condition.
Common Types Of Misdiagnosed Cancers
A doctor can misdiagnose any type of cancer. However, misdiagnosis with cancer described below tends to happen with greater frequency. Our medical malpractice attorneys have fought for New Yorkers with the following types of misdiagnosed cancers:
- Breast Cancer: One woman in eight will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime, and one percent of those diagnosed are men. With a misdiagnosis rate of four percent, more than 10,000 people receive an inaccurate diagnosis of breast cancer every year. The survival rate is excellent when caught early but poor once cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body.
- Cervical Cancer: When detected in a timely manner, the five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 91 percent. Approximately 13,000 American women receive this diagnosis each year.
- Colon Cancer – Colorectal Cancer: These types of cancers are among the most common type to receive a misdiagnosis. The five-year survival rate is 90 percent when detected at Stage I but drops to just 11 percent once a patient reaches Stage IV.
- Endometrial Cancer: Approximately 20 percent of women diagnosed each year with endometrial cancer eventually die from the disease. Among them are women whose doctors misdiagnosed them with another gynecological condition such as fibroids, polyps, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Melanoma Cancer: This advanced form of skin cancer is deadly when left undetected because it grows beyond the outer layer of skin and spreads within the body. Basal cell and squamous cell are two other types of skin cancer that are far less severe and nearly always curable when caught early.
- Ovarian Cancer: A delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer is often fatal as this cancer has one of the worst five-year survival rates once it has advanced. Ovarian cancer affects approximately 200,000 women in the United States each year.
- Pancreatic Cancer: The misdiagnosis rate for pancreatic cancer may be as high as 31 percent. This is unacceptable, especially considering that pancreatic cancer has the highest death rate within one year of diagnosis than any other type of cancer.
- Prostate Cancer: This is the second most common type of cancer in men. It causes approximately 30,000 deaths every year, many of which could have been avoided if not for a delayed or missed diagnosis.
Why Does The Misdiagnosis Of Cancer Occur?
The rate of misdiagnosis cancer can be as high as 20 percent. This is shocking when you consider the testing and technology available to doctors today. The patient bears partial responsibility in some cases by thinking the symptoms will go away and not seeking medical intervention soon enough. It is also common for a lab technician to misread an imaging report or tissue biopsy.
Negligence is another typical reason for cancer misdiagnosis. For example, a doctor or healthcare provider could have failed to recommend that a patient receive an age-based screening for a type of cancer more common to his or her age range. If you feel that malpractice has taken place, working with cancer misdiagnosis attorneys will help you understand your legal rights in terms of suing for financial compensation.
Cancer, Medical Malpractice And Negligence
Negligence is a specific type of medical malpractice that occurs when a medical provider does not provide the patient with an accepted standard of care. It can be difficult to prove without the assistance of a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer.
In legal proceedings, juries determine negligence by comparing the medical practitioner’s actions or lack of actions with those of a provider with similar experience and education. You and your attorney must clearly demonstrate that it was the doctor’s actions alone that caused the misdiagnosis. The standard of care held up as an example can be determined by professional medical organizations, state or federal law, or common practice.
Some standards of care apply to all types of cancer while others only to certain types. Common examples of the latter types include colorectal and breast cancer. Guidelines already exist to begin testing patients for colorectal cancer at age 50 and breast cancer at age 40. Doctors are aware of these standards and should ensure that their patients are as well.
Even without a patient complaining of certain symptoms, a doctor may be liable for negligence for not recommending a screening once a patient reaches a certain age. However, the patient might bear responsibility for delayed diagnosis if he or she refused to have the screening performed.
The following are some additional examples of negligence in diagnosis:
- Dismissing a patient’s self-reported symptoms that could indicate a diagnosis of cancer
- Failing to follow up on abnormal results with further testing
- Not providing the patient with accurate test results, even when the result is normal
- Not considering the patient’s prior medical history, a hereditary risk of cancer, or any previous diagnosis that would increase the likelihood of cancer
- Failing to refer the patient to the appropriate specialist who could provide the greatest insight into his or her specific type of cancer
When considering standard of care, it is important to realize that specialists are often held to a higher standard than general practitioners and that all doctors may receive greater leeway if the patient has a rare type of cancer that is difficult to diagnose. Nonetheless, anyone affected by these serious medical errors can contact cancer misdiagnosis lawyers for help in moving forward with their case.
Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases
The early detection of several types of cancer may improve your chance of cure or prevent the metastasis of cancer, or simply slow down its progression by timely palliative care. Within the standard of care, there are many tests or studies that a doctor may need to order or perform to allow for the early diagnosis of a patient’s cancer, such as Biopsies, MRIs, CT Scans, PET Scans, Mammograms, Pap Smears, Colonoscopies, Ultrasounds, X-Rays, and Blood Tests.
The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm has successfully represented clients who have had wrongful death and medical malpractice claims pertaining to the following cancer cases:
Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, Liver Cancer, Intestinal Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Renal Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Oral Cancer, Skin Cancer, and many others serious conditions.
New York Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer – Free Consultation
For over three generations we have been successfully representing victims of medical malpractice. We have accepted and resolved many cases, of all types including misdiagnosis as well as surgery. We succeed in obtaining full and just compensation even in the toughest cases. Our wonderful team of medical malpractice lawyers analyzes assesses and litigate all kinds of medical malpractice cases. This includes the most obvious to the most complex case. We work closely with the finest physicians to strongly present your case.
Contact the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm to discuss your concerns confidential attorney-client relationship. Our New York City attorneys represent injured clients on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not pay legal fees unless we recover compensation to help you cover the medical expenses and medical treatment for you.
Call 212-869-3500 today for your free case evaluation, we serve New York State, Connecticut, and New Jersey.