Larynx Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer every year. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Laryngeal 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 laryngeal 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 larynx cancer misdiagnosis just contact our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer with call to discuss your potential compensation claim without charge and without further obligation. Our larynx 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.

Laryngeal Cancer Misdiagnosis Facts

Larynx cancer is also referred to as laryngeal carcinoma and happens when cells of the throat or voice box become cancerous and grow out of control. People have a lifetime risk of having laryngeal cancer at a rate of 0.36 percent. This translates to about 1200 men and women getting laryngeal cancer in Canada each year. About 300 patients will die of the disease per year. The median age at diagnosis for laryngeal cancer is about 65 years of age. Only a scant few are diagnosed under the age of twenty with 58 percent being diagnosed between the ages of 55 and 74. This amounts to a rate of 3.4 patients diagnosed for every 100,000 people in a given year. The rate is much higher in blacks than in whites. The median age at death is 68 years of age. This amounts to a rate of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 individuals. The death rate is more than twice as high in blacks as in whites.

Survival from laryngeal cancer depends on stage. The overall survival rate is 60.8 percent after five years. It is less for black men and women with rates of 55 percent and 47 percent, respectively. The five year survival rate for localized cancer is 77 percent, for regional cancer (spread to lymph nodes) is 42 percent, and for distantly metastasized cancer is about 33 percent. It is to your advantage to be diagnosed as early as possible in the course of the disease.

Laryngeal cancer has several symptoms you need to recognize and report to your doctor about. You may need to cough constantly, having constant irritation of the throat. You may feel like you always need to clear your throat. You may have noisy breathing—a phenomenon known as stridor, which occurs at the level of the voice box. You can have problems swallowing with food coming back up when you try to swallow. There may be referred pain to the ear from damage to the nerves in the throat and you can have trouble breathing from having a blocked airway due to cancer. Unintentional weight loss is also a phenomenon of having laryngeal cancer. Having “laryngitis” or a hoarse voice for longer than a month can indicate the presence of laryngeal cancer or larynx cancer.

Doctors diagnosed laryngeal cancer through the use of a history and physical examination. The voice box and most of the pharynx cannot be seen by just using a flashlight so a laryngoscopy must be done. Doctors use a laryngoscope, which is a fiberoptic lighted device that looks down the throat and uses a microscope to get a really good look at the voice box and surrounding tissues. Biopsies can be obtained through a laryngoscope and this can be looked at under the microscope to see if cancerous tissue is present. Laryngoscopy can be done under local or general anesthesia.

Then doctors stage the cancer by determining the extent of the disease and the presence of lymph node involvement or metastatic disease. MRI and CT scans of the throat and chest can show where there are metastases. A PET scan or positron emission tomography scan can be done to see areas of increased metabolic activity suspicious for cancer. PET scans are good because they can detect very small areas of cancer.

The treatment of laryngeal or voice box cancer is to remove as much of the cancer as possible during surgery. This may mean a person has a laryngectomy, which removes their voice box. They must then use alternative ways of communication and may need a tracheostomy in order to breathe properly. Radiation works well with throat cancer and is used whenever the cancer wasn’t localized or to shrink the tumor before doing surgery. Chemotherapy doesn’t work as well but is available for widely metastatic disease.

LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here