Lymphoma - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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

Lymphoma Misdiagnosis Facts

Lymphoma is divided into Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It occurs when cells of the lymph system grow out of control, resulting in clusters of tumors in the lymph nodes. The cells can show up in the bloodstream as well. About 7,000 men and women will be diagnosed with lymphoma per year in Canada and about 2,000 of these individuals will eventually die from their disease. The median age at diagnosis is 64 years of age with slightly more whites diagnosed than in other races. The overall incidence of the disease is 23 per 100,000 people per year. The average age of death is about 75 years. This amounts to a death rate of 7.3 per 100,000 individuals per year. The rate of death is higher in whites than in blacks, Hispanics and Asians. The rate of death is about twice that in men than in women.

The survival rate depends on the stage of the cancer. With localized disease, the survival rate is 82 percent after five years. When the disease is considered regional, the survival rate is about 77 percent. With metastatic disease, the rate of death in metastatic disease is approximately 60 percent.

Lymphoma involves cancer of the body's lymphocytes. There are about 35 different types of lymphoma, each of which is treated slightly differently. The lymph system normally drains bacteria, toxins and other substances from the body to lymph nodes, where they are packaged and destroyed by lymphocytes. The lymph system is important to the immune system. The lymph system includes the lymph nodes, the tonsils, the spleen, the thymus gland and the bone marrow. Lymphocytes are divided into T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, each which has a different purpose in the body. T cells can kill pathogens directly, while B cells make antibodies that circulate through the blood and lymph system and can attach to infectious agents or cells that are abnormal. The antibodies turn on the rest of the immune system and allow it to kill the pathogen.

The exact causes of lymphoma aren't clear. People at risk for lymphoma include those who are older in age. Infections, including infections with HIV, Epstein-Barr virus and Helicobacter pylori can trigger lymphoma. Infections with hepatitis B or hepatitis C can contribute to getting lymphoma and any medical condition in which the immune system is compromised can cause lymphoma to develop. Those with autoimmune diseases are at a higher risk of getting lymphoma and those who take immunosuppressive drugs for organ transplants or other illnesses are at risk. Those with inherited immune deficiency conditions are at greater than average risk for getting lymphoma. Exposure to toxic chemicals or pesticides, such as with farm workers, means you'll have a greater than average risk of getting lymphoma. The use of hair dye for long periods of time seems to increase one's risk. There can also be a family history of lymphoma which increases the risk of the disease.

The signs and symptoms of lymphoma include fatigue, swelling of the lymph nodes (anywhere in the body), splenic enlargement, swelling of an arm or a leg, nerve pain or numbness, abdominal pain from splenic enlargement or excess fluid within the stomach, fever, chills, weight loss that is unexplained, lack of energy or night sweats. Itching occurs in 25 percent of cases.

The diagnosis of lymphoma depends on a biopsy of the lymph nodes to see under the microscope what kind of lymphoma it is. Blood work can show lymphoma cells in the bloodstream that are abnormal. A bone marrow biopsy can be done to see if the lymphocytes have travelled to the bone marrow.

The treatment of lymphoma depends on the type of lymphoma a person has. Chemotherapy is often used to kill off abnormal lymphocytes. A newer treatment involves giving a lethal dose of chemotherapy to kill off the bone marrow and then replacing the bone marrow with the patient's own stem cells, allowing the stem cells to repopulate the bone marrow and finally, the rest of the body.

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