The best ammunition in the fight against cancer is detecting it early before it has a chance to spread. Early detection and diagnosis are very important, because a cancer patient’s odds of surviving directly correlate to the stage at which the cancer is detected. Early detection can sometimes prevent the need for surgery and the need to undergo costly and debilitating treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and even death.
The failure to properly diagnose cancer usually falls into three primary categories:
Failure to Order Tests ? The failure to properly diagnose cancer sometimes occurs because the doctor does not listen to the patient’s complaints, fails to take family history into account, or misinterprets a symptom and does not order the appropriate tests. The doctor may fail to do any testing at all or may fail to do proper testing, including ordering MRIs, mammograms, or PSI tests for prostate cancer.
Failure to Properly Read Tests ? Sometimes the proper tests are ordered, but the error occurs when the x-ray is misread or the pathologist errs in evaluating the biopsy. This provides the patient with a false sense of relief and often leads to a critical delay in diagnosing the cancer.
Failure to Order the Proper Treatment ? Even when the proper tests are ordered and interpreted correctly, the treating doctor may still fail to order the proper treatment for the condition.
In each of these situations, you may be able to prove that your doctor committed malpractice by deviating from the reasonable standard of care that the medical profession has for cancer patients. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, it greatly reduces the chances for recovery and greatly increases the likelihood that the disease will be fatal.