Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with cancer every year however only a minority are diagnosed early enough to affect a cure. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Cancer misdiagnosis is extremely common and failure by a healthcare practitioner that amounts to negligence is a matter of medical malpractice and entitles the victim to claim financial recompense for pain and suffering or the loss of opportunity for a cure. Our specialist medical malpractice lawyers deal with cancer clinical negligence cases against doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare providers working in medical practices, clinics, hospitals and all other places where health care is dispensed. If you would like advice about cancer misdiagnosis just contact our offices and a medical malpractice lawyer with call to discuss your potential compensation claim without charge and without further obligation. Our cancer medical malpractice lawyers will give you their opinion on the liability of the negligent healthcare provider and will estimate the amount of the likely award of damages there and then.
As a result of recent scientific advances one of the most common types of compensation claim dealt with by medical malpractice lawyers are those associated with failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner thereby allowing adequate treatment to take place or following diagnosis of cancer, failing to arrange an appropriate treatment regime.
Cancer Malpractice Lawyers are frequently instructed to deal with these cases as a result of negligent late diagnosis. Some of the most common types of clinical claims are those associated with failure to properly diagnose cancer at an early stage when effective treatment can often be arranged. It is now possible to prevent, treat or cure many types of this illness and even if a cure is not possible then life can often be extended and the quality of remaining life can be dramatically improved.
If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a specialist lawyer will telephone you to discuss your claim at no cost.
Early Diagnosis Essential
The usual key to successful treatment of cancer is early diagnosis which may dramatically improve quality of life, survival chances and life expectancy and if a health care professional has failed through their negligence to diagnose the illness in a timely manner then a specialist cancer lawyer may be able to obtain a settlement for the worsening of the illness. Chemotherapy and radiation are designed to kill living cells and the pain and suffering and financial hardship caused as a result of these treatments can be horrendous. Early diagnosis of cancer may mean less pain and suffering, less financial hardship and a greater chance of survival.
Medical malpractice can lead to a delay in diagnosis which may deprive patients of the chance for a cure, or delay early treatment to minimise pain and discomfort and these include lost records, failing to realize the importance of a patient’s complaints, treating a patient inappropriately, misreading x-rays, inaccurate test results or failing to refer a patient to a cancer specialist.
Late Diagnosis of Cancer
Cancer is a condition in which a cell inside the body grows unrestricted and has no message to shut off its reproduction. The cell becomes a mass of many cells that turn into a tumor and can travel to many places within the body in the form of metastases. Metastases can grow in many groups of cancer cells that cannot always be treated with surgery alone. Doctors try to detect cancer in its earliest stages so that it does not metastasize. This is the purpose of cancer screening tests, of which there are many. Failure to make early diagnosis resulting in metastasy can give cancer malpractice lawyers the opportunity to take legal action for negligence.
Cancers that are the most common include lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Each begins with a single cell that grows out of control and forms a tumor. At some point, it grows rapidly and spreads to other body areas. Colon cancer, for example, grows into polyps that erode into the wall of the colon and eventually metastasize. Screening tests are designed to find polyps that have not yet turned into cancer or have early cancer so they can be removed via a colonoscope.
Doctors also look for early signs of cancer, include weight loss, tiredness and localized pain. In lung cancer, patients will have a cough and sometimes bloody sputum is involved. There can be blood in the stool of patients with early colon cancer. Breast pain can show up as a sign of early breast cancer, although breast cancer might not hurt at all. Early skin cancer can show up as a change in a mole or a minor skin defect or ulcer that does not heal.
It is important to diagnose breast cancer so that only surgery will be necessary to treat the cancer and so metastases do not happen. This means that those who have the early symptoms of cancer need to seek medical care so that, if the symptoms relate to cancer, the cancer can be treated early. Sometimes, doctors do not listen to these early concerns, resulting in a late diagnosis of cancer.
A late diagnosis of cancer results in massive weight loss, fatigue and symptoms related to the cancer, such as having a blocked colon in colon cancer cases or pneumonia in lung cancer cases. There can be urinary tract blockages in prostate cancer cases and ulceration of the breast in breast cancer cases. Metastases are possible in all types of cancer, with the exception of certain skin cancer types.
Metastatic cancer is the worst complication of a late diagnosis of cancer. Prostate cancer can metastasize to other areas in the pelvis or to the bone. Breast cancer metastasizes to the other breast, to lung, bone and liver. Colon cancer spreads to omentum, liver and the lungs. Skin cancer, especially melanoma, spreads to other areas of the skin and to various internal organs. When cancer becomes metastatic, it is difficult to treat and the diagnosis of metastatic disease often means the death of the patient unless chemotherapy can take care of the metastasis. All of these conditions, if due to late diagnosis can give rise to cancer malpractice lawyers taking legal action for compensation.
The late diagnosis of skin cancer means metastases to just about any body area. If the cancer becomes metastatic, only about 5 percent of these people live past five years. On the other hand, if the diagnosis is early enough, there is a 90 to 95 percent chance of survival past the five year mark. This is why any changes in the skin need medical attention and biopsy to see if the lesion is melanoma or not. Lung cancer is able to metastasis to the liver, the other lung and the brain. If lung cancer is metastatic, only about one percent of patients are alive after five years. This is why early diagnosis and screening is so important. Unfortunately for lung cancer, there is no set screening protocol so many patients receive a late diagnosis of lung cancer.
Early stage cancers have a much higher survival rate than late stage diagnosis and the early diagnosis of these conditions can make the difference between the individual surviving their cancer and dying from it. Doctors need to follow protocols for early screening methods so that advanced cancer isn't the result.
Cancer Misdiagnosis Facts
Cancer is a condition where a single cell or in some cases, multiple cells (in multifocal cancer) sustain a change in their DNA to the point where the cell divides uncontrollably, making millions to billions of copies of itself in a clone-like fashion. This forms a tumor, except in cases of some lymphatic cancers, inflammatory breast cancer and leukemias. The tumor displaces other body parts and cells break off to metastasize in distant body areas.
Cancer is diagnosed by symptom presentation and by the presence of a tumor on imaging techniques or by examination. It is incumbent on the doctor to do the proper screening tests for the various cancers and to follow through with the follow up examinations that confirm the diagnosis of cancer.
The biggest problem in cancer detection is the failure to diagnose the cancer. This is called a “false negative test” and means the doctor failed to find a cancer that would otherwise be found when using the right screening test for cancer at the right time. All tests have an inherent false negative possibility but the tests used today are those that have been measured to have the least rate of false negativity.
Cancer misdiagnosis can happen due to the following actions on the part of the doctor:
- The doctor can fail to diagnose something that is obvious on the examination, such as a skin cancer.
- Failing to perform a physical examination in the first place.
- Failing to perform the right diagnostic screening test for cancer at the proper times.
- Not diagnosing cancer on a screening test that would show cancer if another doctor looked at it.
- Diagnosing a tumor that is not there (a false positive).
- Failing to follow up abnormal testing.
- Not interpreting a lab or imaging test correctly.
- Ignoring blood tests that show cancerous changes.
- Failing to follow up on a positive test on the patient.
- Failing to test for cancer when the patient has obvious symptoms.
- Ignoring a history of discomfort or pain.
- Failing to biopsy a tumor or the suggestion of a tumor.
- Failing to recommend the right treatment for diagnosed cancer.
- Ignoring a family history of a specific cancer and do the proper testing.
- Failing to respond urgently to a positive test or an abnormal exam.
- Losing the patient’s records.
When the doctor fails to diagnose cancer using the accepted standards designed to detect cancer, what ends up happening is a late diagnosis of cancer. What we know about cancer is that the later the diagnosis of cancer, the worse the prognosis. If a cancer isn’t found in stage I disease and is instead found when it metastasizes or has spread beyond the border of the organ involved in the cancer, the chance of death from the cancer is much higher. Screening tests are designed to detect cancer it its precancerous or early cancerous stages, when the rate of death is lower and more people survive the cancer.
Even a false positive rate of cancer can be a negligent thing. If cancer is diagnosed on a screening test, often other tests or surgeries are performed that can, of themselves, be dangerous to partake in. A colonoscopy, for example, can lead to a false positive for colon cancer and a surgery which is dangerous inherently. False positive rates can lead to emotional distress in the person diagnosed with cancer who doesn’t have cancer in the first place. This, added to unnecessary testing, can lead to a very hard time for the patient who has no real cancer.
Cancer Malpractice Lawyers
If your condition resulted from negligence our cancer malpractice lawyers can help you to exercise your legal rights to obtain compensation. There are many medical mistakes which can lead to malpractice and a delay in diagnosis may deprive patients of the chance for a cure, or early treatment to minimise pain and discomfort. Chemotherapy and radiation are designed to kill living cells and the pain and suffering and financial hardship caused as a result of these treatments can be horrendous. Early diagnosis may dramatically improve quality of life and life expectancy and may mean less pain and suffering, less financial hardship and a greater chance of survival.
Our medical malpractice lawyers will advise in early course whether you have a viable claim and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal rights. If your condition resulted from medical malpractice, we can help you assert your rights to get the compensation that you need. You can rely on our advocates to take care of your cancer compensation claim in a comprehensive, helpful, sympathetic and professional manner. Our lawyers will respect your confidentiality at all times and will explain legal issues clearly and without jargon. Settlements may include;
- care and assistance for the past and for the future
- pain and Suffering (including psychological damage)
- loss of past and future income
- loss of amenities of life
- medical expenses for the past and for the future
Our cancer malpractice lawyers will deal with your claim using a contingency fee arrangement which means if you don't succeed in receiving compensation then your lawyers won't get paid. Our specialists will advise in early course whether you have a reasonable claim, and if so, what steps you should take to protect your legal rights. You will receive a complete professional service from lawyers who specialise in claiming compensation for personal injury caused as a result of clinical negligence. For free advice without obligation just complete the contact form and a qualified lawyer will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim without further obligation.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here