For all that medical science still doesn’t know about cancer, how and why we get it and what the best treatment options are, one generally accepted principle is that the earlier it is detected, the better the chances of successfully fighting it or prolonging survival as long as possible. In order for this to happen, physicians need to be ever vigilant, paying attention to symptoms and ordering appropriate testing in order to stay ahead of the potential spread of disease.

Unfortunately, all too often a doctor will fail to include cancer in their differential diagnosis, or may not order a simple laboratory or imaging test that would have revealed the presence of cancerous cells or tumors. In other situations appropriate testing is done but is inaccurately interpreted by a pathologist or radiologist. This types of errors lead to failure or delay in diagnosing cancer, and can have serious or even tragic results.  If a physician or healthcare provider’s failure to diagnose cancer has had an impact on your health or the successful treatment of your condition, it may represent negligence or medical malpractice. The knowledgeable attorneys of Bochetto & Lentz law firm will guide you through understanding your rights and provide you with experienced legal representation.

Medical malpractice suits are brought to trial when a plaintiff is able to show three basic things: that a doctor and patient relationship existed, that the physician was negligent in their practice of medicine and that harm or injury was caused by the negligence. In the case of failure to diagnose cancer, the harm can come in a variety of forms. According to the American Cancer Society a delay of just a few months in diagnosing cancer may lead to a higher mortality rate, and can necessitate more aggressive therapies for the cancer’s treatment. Different types of cancer have different progressions and outlooks so each case is different, but a failure to diagnose cancer can lead to increased medical expenses, longer recovery times, increased complications, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and a diminished chance of survival.

When a physician is presented with a patient’s symptoms, their assessment requires the evaluation and weighing of a number of differential diagnoses that they identify as possible causes. It is their responsibility to eliminate those illnesses that are most dangerous, but only after careful consideration. When a physician fails to do this or does not take a patient’s concerns seriously, or when lab results or imaging studies are read incorrectly, the error can allow cancer to spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

Technology and research have allowed cancer treatments to work miracles, but failure to diagnose cancer or delays in diagnosis can lead to tragedy. In order to determine whether a delay in diagnosis has had an impact on your treatment or condition you need professional, experienced legal counsel. The attorneys at the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto & Lentz will review the specifics of your case and advise you as to your rights. Contact us today.

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