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What Causes a Failure to Diagnose Cancer?

diagnostic errors

Failure to diagnose cancer or the misdiagnosis of cancer symptoms can lead to devastating results as the cancer spreads to other organs that may be difficult or impossible to treat. The delayed diagnosis can also prevent a patient from receiving critical medical treatment that may not be an option in later stages of cancer. A timely cancer diagnosis can be just as important as an accurate diagnosis. How many cancer deaths could have been prevented with a more timely or accurate diagnosis?

With many types of cancer, early detection and diagnosis is critical to the long-term impact of the disease; many cancer treatments are most effective before the disease spreads. When a doctor fails to recognize or misunderstands cancer symptoms, he may be preventing the tests or referral to a cancer specialist that could lead to the early treatment necessary for recovery.

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cancer statistics

According to a study released by the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2013, it was estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of all cancer cases are misdiagnosed.

A 2009 report funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes reported anonymously by doctors were life-threatening or had resulted in death or permanent disability.

It is estimated that at least 40,000 cancer patients die unnecessarily each year because of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis but the number may be higher as many cases go unreported.

What causes a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis?

A failure to diagnose or misdiagnosed cancer sometimes occurs because a family physician or emergency room doctor fails to give the proper attention or listen carefully to their patient’s symptoms. If a physician fails to order appropriate diagnostic tests or make a referral to an oncologist, the cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment could be irreparably delayed.

Many types of cancer – including breast, prostate and colorectal – have early screening tests. If these screenings are not performed properly or on an appropriate schedule or the results are grossly misinterpreted; the medical professional’s possible negligence could lead to premature death.

In some cases, a general practitioner may go against the interests of the patient in order to protect the financial interests of the insurance agency, often leading to devastating results as the cancer spreads.

The bottom line is that if cancer isn’t diagnosed shortly after symptoms present, cancer treatment may be less successful and lead to a serious decrease in the quality of life for the patient or an un-treatable disease.

How can a medical malpractice attorney help?

Failure to diagnosis or misdiagnose cases should be handled by a medical malpractice lawyer who has experience investigating complex medical cases. All the specific factors will be reviewed, including an assessment of whether a diagnosis could have been made sooner had the doctor used reasonable care to identify your disease. The personal injury law firm will have access to a team of medical professionals who can weigh in on your situation and provide expert testimony if the case goes to trial. They will fight for the damages that you deserve.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an advanced stage of cancer due to a failure to diagnosis or misdiagnosis, seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.