Cancer Diagnosis Delays Continue to Increase in U.S.
Cancer is one of the most dangerous and potentially deadly diseases around the world. Many of us know at least one friend or family member who has been affected. While public awareness has increased in terms of preventative measures and safety tips on being alert for the first signs of the disease, medical providers continue to fall behind in making diagnosis. Medical mistakes and delayed diagnosis of cancer is an increasing problem throughout the U.S. In addition to liability for medical malpractice claims, doctors who are not alert in diagnosing symptoms end up putting the lives of their patients at risk.
Ignoring Cancer Symptoms
While there have been numerous advances in medical science and prevention, cancer continues to be one of the nation’s leading killers. The National Cancer Institute reports that more than 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed in 2016, while roughly 600,000 people died of the disease. The most common types of cancer include leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancer of the lung, colon, prostate, thyroid, kidney, and breast. An estimated 40 percent of people will be diagnosed with one of these or other forms of the disease at some point in their lifetime.
Despite how widespread cancer is, doctors continue to miss or improperly diagnose symptoms. The Doctor’s Company, one of the nation’s leading medical malpractice insurance agencies, uses strong language in warning medical providers about increasing numbers of medical malpractice claims, caused by doctors overlooking symptoms that could allow them to treat cancer in its early stages. Common types of symptoms that doctor’s overlook or attribute to other causes include:
- Hoarseness and cough
- Night sweats
- Itching and changes in the skin
- Skin lesions and tissue masses
- Abdominal pain and weight loss
- Bleeding and anemia
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Delays in Diagnosing Cancer
While any of the symptoms above could indicate a variety of far less serious conditions, unless doctors take the time and effort to exclude cancer as the cause, cases could be missed and treatments delayed. In addition to ignoring symptoms, delays in diagnosing cancer often involve the following:
- Assuming coughing and hoarseness indicate an upper respiratory infection
- Accepting anemia or changes in the blood cells without looking for underlying causes
- Over-relying on x-rays and other routine screening and diagnostic tools. In nearly 20 percent of breast cancer cases, mammograms results are negative.
- Failing to provide follow up care to ensure symptoms such as pain, bleeding, or coughing have ceased
- Failing to properly review lab and diagnostic testing reports
- Rushing through or not being thorough in conducting annual screening exams
Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
If you are a victim of a missed diagnosis or suspect that doctor errors have resulted in delays in your treatment, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we can advise you on hold to hold negligent medical providers accountable for the harm you have suffered and assist you in getting the compensation you need to deal with your condition.