Cancer is likely one of the most feared diagnoses that modern patients have to worry about when visiting the doctor. After all, there are many kinds of cancer, many of which have reputations for being painful and debilitating. More importantly, the treatments that come along with a cancer diagnosis can seem frightening to a patient.
Chemotherapy can leave somebody weak and result in a loss of both appetite and hair. Radiation treatments can impact appetite and further weaken a patient. Surgeries can take weeks to fully recover from, even if they are necessary for removing a tumor. Getting an accurate diagnosis of cancer is certainly frightening, but not receiving a timely diagnosis is a more serious concern for patients. After all, the cancer will continue growing, untreated, until you receive an accurate diagnosis.
Cancer grows and spreads over time
Cancer cells are tissues in your body that behave in manners they should not. In some cases, they may attack healthy cells. Other times, they may simply reproduce at alarming rates, pushing out resources for healthy tissue. When a cancer spreads to another part of a body, it is said that the cancer metastasizes.
Metastasized cancers take much more rigorous treatments to cure and may be more difficult for patients to recover from. Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent the negative consequences associated with metastasized cancers. When a clinician or doctor fails to adequately review patient symptoms, the result could be a significant delay in a cancer diagnosis and worsening cancer for the patient.
Early treatments improve patient prognosis
Every patient is unique, and every cancer case is different. Different people react in different ways to medications, chemotherapy and surgery. There is often significant trial-and-error in developing an appropriate cancer regimen for a patient. One thing that is almost always true, however, is that earlier stages of cancer are easier to overcome than the later stages of cancer.
It is always in a patient's best interest to seek a diagnosis as soon as they suspect something wrong. A doctor should perform the necessary diagnostic tests to rule out cancer and other serious conditions when determining the root cause of symptoms.
Failing to diagnose cancer is a serious issue that a patient shouldn't overlook
Doctors who fail to perform diagnostic tests or who reach conclusions without medical evidence to back up their assumptions could have a negative impact on their patients. The delay in diagnosis that results could mean much more invasive treatments or even change someone's prognosis from likely survival to almost inevitable death.
If you or someone you love went to a doctor with symptoms of early-stage cancer and did not receive adequate diagnostic care, that may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You should look carefully over your medical records to see if documentation supports the potential claim for a doctor's failure to diagnose in your situation.