Cancer affects millions of families every year. It is well known that early diagnosis is critical in achieving the best clinical outcome for a person diagnosed with most types of cancer.
Unfortunately, medical negligence can mean a delayed cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer and colon cancer are two common forms of cancer that are frequently ignored until it is too late. The resulting spread of the disease and worsened prognosis can occur with a cancer misdiagnosis. Attorneys such as Levy Konigsberg LLP know full well that this type of medical malpractice often leads to cancer malpractice cases and resulting lawsuits.
Colon cancer (also called colorectal cancer) can occur in either men or women of any age. A history of polyps in the colon, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s Disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer. Misdiagnosis and delayed cancer diagnosis causes delays in treatment and detection of cancer. Screening, or testing, for colon cancer is often done while you are feeling well — to find any abnormalities early, before signs and symptoms of disease occur. Screening for colorectal cancer allows for the early detection of cancer when it is highly curable, as well as the detection of growths (polyps) that might eventually become cancer. These polyps may be removed, preventing the development of cancer altogether. There are several tests used to screen for colorectal cancer and polyps, including tests for blood in the stool, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy or a barium enema. However, these tests must be properly performed or the patient will be given the wrong diagnosis, know as a cancer misdiagnosis. Attorneys working in the field of cancer malpractice find that while most physicians accurately diagnose the disease based on testing and facts, some are not as accurate. Medical malpractice in the failure to timely diagnose colon cancer or delay the cancer diagnosis can result in precious time passing while the disease is untreated and permitted to spread. Once colon cancer is diagnosed, negligent treatment or surgery can result in preventable injuries, such as perforated colon, perforated bladder, infections or damage to internal organs.
Breast cancer misdiagnosis is frequently seen in cancer malpractice cases. Misread mammograms or sonograms, or a doctor ignoring a patient’s symptoms of breast lump or mass, breast pain or nipple discharge can be issues in a medical malpractice case for failure to diagnose breast cancer. A complete work up (including mammogram, sonogram, physical exam and biopsy) is essential for the assessment of all breast symptoms. A needle biopsy can determine if the lump is merely a cyst containing clear fluid, or a solid mass that raises the suspicion of cancer. Improper performance of a biopsy or negligent analysis of breast tissue by a pathologist can cause significant delay in the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. For many patients who have been given a cancer misdiagnosis, doctors often state that the disease was permitted to progress from an earlier, more treatable, stage to a more advanced stage. Whether a cancer is Stage 0, Stage I, Stage II, Stage IIIA, IIIB or Stage IV will determine the methods of treatment and the statistical chances of survival. Treatment modalities include surgery (colon resection, lumpectomy, mastectomy, lymph node dissection), chemotherapy, or radiation. Often a delayed cancer diagnosis will result in metastasis, more extensive surgeries, more rounds of chemotherapy and a decrease in the chances of recovery.
At Levy Konigsberg LLP experienced cancer misdiagnosis attorneys and medical negligence lawyers assess breast cancer and colon cancer cases every day.
If you or someone you love was diagnosed with cancer that you believe should have been diagnosed sooner, please call (212) 605-6200 to speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys and arrange for a free consultation.