New York Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorneys
Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or medical staff does not detect or treat any form of cancer either aggressively or early enough. Cancer misdiagnosis can also occur when a doctor attributes symptoms of cancer to another disease, or does not test for cancer when obvious cancer signs exist.
In the U.S., medical errors are the cause of almost 100,000 unnecessary deaths per year and over 1 million preventable injuries. When a cancer misdiagnosis occurs, the risk of death increases dramatically and the costs of treating the later stage cancers skyrocket. Intensive measures, such as high dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause debilitating side effects, in addition to associated medical expenses.
- Failure to identify an obvious lump during breast examination.
- Failure to order x-rays, CT scans or MRIs.
- Failure to properly evaluate test results, or follow-up.
- Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign.
- Failing to order a biopsy or future tests.
When cancer is diagnosed early, the treatment and survival rate increases significantly. Breast cancer, for example, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women today (after lung cancer), but early detection can actually prevent the spread of the cancer. When breast cancer is detected early and confined to the breast the five-year survival rate is now almost 100%.
Another type of preventable cancer that is often misdiagnosed is colorectal cancer. According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study only 45% of men and 41% of women 50 years or older who had a screening for colon cancer had screening or exams done for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer can be 100% treated if pre-cancerous polyps and growths are discovered and removed early on.
Most cancer misdiagnoses are caused by a lack of proper and thorough care and testing.
Some common types include: failure to find an obvious lump during a breast exam, failure to order X-rays, a CT scan or MRI, and failure to properly analyze a test result.
Since so many types of cancer are becoming more and more preventable and treatable, early diagnosis is the most important key in making a full recovery. Cancer types that respond especially well to early treatment include breast, lung, prostate, colon, ovarian, cervical, testicular, and kidney. Any amount of hesitation or failure to diagnose can result in unnecessary treatments, costs, and a lower survival rate.
The patient also plays an important role in diagnosing cancer. Asking questions, making timely appointments, and asking about further testing are some good ways to prevent a misdiagnosis.