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Cancer Misdiagnosis: Which Types are Often Overlooked?

Silicon Valley Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Doctor and StethoscopeIncorrect and delayed diagnoses are commonly discussed types of medical malpractice case. These, like other incidents of medical malpractice, occur when a physician fails to take the proper amount of care to ensure the patient’s health, safety, and recovery. In other words, if a doctor fails to adhere to the standard of care for the patient’s condition, he or she is negligent. When a doctor’s negligence causes his or her patient to suffer an injury or a worsened medical condition, he or she may be liable for the patient’s resulting damages.

A doctor can fail to diagnose a patient’s cancer or incorrectly diagnose it as another condition if he or she fails to order the necessary tests after discussing the patient’s symptoms and performing an examination. Sometimes, the misdiagnosis is due to the doctor’s failure to correctly interpret test results or his or her failure to refer the patient to a specialist for conclusive screening. Certain cancers are more likely to be misdiagnosed than others. Below are three types of cancer that can be overlooked. Familiarize yourself with them and if you have a family history with them or experience their symptoms, discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can be misdiagnosed as other respiratory conditions because it shares many symptoms with them. A few symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Wheezing;
  • Vomiting;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Coughing up blood; and
  • Headaches.

Because these symptoms can point to many different conditions, a physician might diagnose lung cancer as tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a respiratory infection.

Lung cancer is diagnosed through a cancer screening, such as an ultrasound or an MRI. Patients who experience lung cancer symptoms should request these screenings from their doctors. Like most other cancers, lung cancer treatment is most effective if the cancer is caught and handled at an early stage.

Colorectal Cancer

Like lung cancer, colorectal cancer shares many symptoms with other conditions. Colorectal cancer refers collectively to cancer occurring in any section of the colon, which is the lower portion of the digestive system. This type of cancer is also known as intestinal cancer. Its symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Rectal bleeding;
  • Abdominal discomfort; and
  • Fatigue.

And also like lung cancer, colorectal cancer can only be diagnosed with a proper screening. For this type of cancer, diagnostic tools include colonoscopy and CT scans.

Colorectal cancer can be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, or hemorrhoids. Individuals who are diagnosed with these conditions but do not see their symptoms improve with treatment could be suffering from colorectal cancer and should seek specialist referrals and screenings to receive conclusive diagnoses.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the top killers of American women. Although it is rare, men can develop breast cancer as well.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, as many as 31 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States are misdiagnosed.

There are many different types of breast cancer and the condition is not always easy to detect. A misdiagnosis may be an incorrect diagnosis of another type of breast cancer. It can also be a case of a physician failing to diagnose any condition at all in the patient, possibly due to missing the symptoms of the condition or failing to interpret screening results correctly. Mammograms can detect breast cancer in many cases, but they are not perfect. Patients who feel they have been misdiagnosed or that their doctors are not considering all their symptoms or test results should seek second opinions from breast cancer specialists.

Work with Our Team of Experienced San Jose Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Any type of cancer can be misdiagnosed. Patients can also suffer the effects of a delayed diagnosis. In both types of case, the patient’s condition can progress as he or she goes without a correct diagnosis, requiring him or her to undergo additional treatment and potentially missing critical treatment windows. These can cause patients to suffer financial damages such as increased medical bills, longer periods of time spent out of work, and the overall costs of decreased quality of life. Patients can seek compensation for these damages through medical malpractice claims. To learn more about this type of claim, contact our team of passionate San Jose personal injury lawyers at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to set up your initial consultation in our office.

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