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The Dangers of a Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

Published on Jun 11, 2024 at 2:55 pm in Medical Malpractice.

The dangers of a delayed diagnosis

No one wants to get the news that they have cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, around 2 million Americans will receive a cancer diagnosis.

But what happens if your cancer is not detected right away?

Early detection is known to save many lives. If a healthcare provider, doctor, or other specialist fails to recognize the signs of cancer correctly, it can result in deadly consequences.

Over the years, we have seen many patients and their families suffer from the devastating news of delayed cancer diagnosis. For that reason, our legal team at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC wants to highlight the dangers of a delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Common Signs of Disease Missed

Early detection of cancer is important for successful treatment and improved patient health. Unfortunately, delayed diagnoses can have serious consequences for patients.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges is recognizing the early symptoms of cancer. Many times, patients and healthcare providers may dismiss early symptoms as less serious. Often, that can lead to delayed evaluation.

For this reason, you need to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that could indicate cancer. If you think something may be wrong, make sure to seek medical attention promptly if they persist.

Even healthcare providers can miss symptoms. For example, a persistent sore throat could be an indication of throat cancer. However, some providers may not believe there is a problem and fail to investigate further into your medical concerns.

Along with dismissing symptoms, several other factors can lead to delays in diagnosing cancer. For instance, tumors can be overlooked during physical exams or imaging studies. Inadequate screening or misinterpretation of test results can also delay diagnosis. Errors in reading pathology reports or imaging studies can also lead to delays.

Many patients may have issues scheduling an appointment with a specialist. Today, many clinics and practices are understaffed, which could lead to delays in diagnosis. Delayed referrals to specialists can prolong the diagnostic process. Often, patients may need to wait for an appointment with a specialist for additional testing. This can be frustrating and stressful for patients, as they may feel like they are not receiving the care they need in a timely manner.

You always want to work with your healthcare provider to ensure that you receive timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, you may have to seek a second opinion or advocate for yourself if you feel that your symptoms are not being taken seriously.

Consequences of a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis of cancer can have serious health consequences for patients. Unfortunately, emotional and physical pain and suffering are common in these situations. Patients may have to cope with the knowledge that their cancer has been growing and spreading. To make matters worse, all this time, they did not get the type of treatment they needed.

Delayed diagnosis can also result in more aggressive treatments. Late-stage cancer treatments are more invasive. As a result, they require more rigorous treatments than early interventions. With that, the patient has higher medical costs, increased discomfort, and a longer recovery period.

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of a delayed cancer diagnosis is the reduction in the patient’s chances of survival. If cancer is not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage, it may be more difficult to treat successfully. The hard truth is that there is a lower likelihood of full recovery. This can even lead to a reduced life expectancy.

Certain cancers are prone to misdiagnosis. For example, pulmonary cancer can be challenging to diagnose due since it has overlapping symptoms with other lung diseases. Additionally, rare cancers, such as childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, may be missed due to their unusual presentation and symptoms.

All doctors and healthcare professionals need to be aware of these signs of cancer and take appropriate steps to ensure timely and accurate diagnoses.

Legal Implications

Delayed cancer diagnoses can have serious legal issues for medical professionals. Patients who have been affected can file a medical malpractice claim. These cases pursue legal action against the healthcare provider or facility responsible for the delay. If they are successful, they can result in compensation for the affected patient.

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer in a timely manner, it can mean better outcomes for them. Unfortunately, not all individuals will benefit from proactive healthcare providers who listen to their concerns. Early detection saves lives. Missed diagnoses are not only inconvenient, but they can cost lives.

If you suspect you’ve received a delayed cancer diagnosis, get a second opinion from another doctor. After doing so, you may want to consult with the team at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC to learn your legal options.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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