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Cancer Misdiagnosis

Boston Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney

When a patient has signs or symptoms that may be cancer, it is important for the health care provider to take those symptoms seriously and order the proper tests to determine whether the patient has cancer or another life-threatening disease. Our Boston cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Crowe & Harris, LLP understand that these types of health concerns and complaints are sometimes ignored or overlooked until it’s too late. In these circumstances, a patient may face serious consequences, or even death, as a result of wrong or delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Even with few or no symptoms, many patients should be screened for common forms of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Patients with a family history or genetic predisposition to cancer may warrant close attention and medical monitoring. The purpose of screening and monitoring is to detect problems before they cause serious harm or death. Doctors need to keep up with current recommendations and screening tests and notify patients when screening tests are due. If proper screening isn’t done, serious medical conditions may not be diagnosed until it’s too late for effective treatment. Early detection and treatment are two of the best ways to manage a serious disease such as cancer, and it is your doctor’s responsibility to offer these essential services.

If you or someone you know has suffered injury or death as a result of a doctor’s wrong or delayed diagnosis of cancer, you may be entitled to compensation for the suffering and losses you have experienced. The skilled attorneys at Crowe & Harris, LLP understand the devastating situation you or your loved ones are facing if your doctor has failed to fulfill the obligations of their profession. Therefore, as part of helping you receive justice for your case, our medical-legal staff knows how to identify medical signs and symptoms that may have been missed or ignored by a health care provider. Our Boston cancer misdiagnosis lawyers represent families throughout New England, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Contact the Boston cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Crowe & Harris, LLP at (617) 404-3417 today for a free consultation about your case.

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Why You Need an Attorney

Unfortunately, treatment for serious medical conditions can cost you a significant amount of both time and money. These costs are only increased if you have had to endure the consequences of a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis. You may have received unnecessary tests, experienced ineffective treatment or surgery, or even just suffered longer with potentially treatable symptoms.

If you have had this experience, you understand the financial burden these medical problems can place on you and your loved ones. You should not be expected to pay for the mistakes your doctor has made. The best way to ensure that you receive the proper compensation for this physical, emotional, and monetary burden is to hire a skilled medical malpractice attorney.

The lawyers at Crowe & Harris, LLP have years of experience working with patients, such as yourself, who have suffered at the hands of careless or incompetent doctors. We understand the importance of your time and money, and we are prepared to help you fight back and receive justice for the problems and pain you have experienced.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancers

Busy doctors may sometimes ignore a patient’s signs or symptoms, or simply attribute them to stress, muscle strain, heartburn, migraine or other less serious conditions. If the doctor is wrong, the patient may suffer from serious harm or even death. In many cases, a patient may suffer from very general symptoms, which are common with many different medical problems, making it difficult for medical professionals to provide an accurate diagnosis regardless of competence.

However, there are a number of different common conditions that have signs and symptoms identifiable enough that most medical professionals are expected to recognize them, but many often fail to do so. Some of these include the following:

Bone Cancer

Click here for information about bone cancer misdiagnoses.

Breast Cancer

With early detection and more advanced treatment for breast cancer, many people who are diagnosed with this cancer have high hopes for a good prognosis and recovery. However, if a woman with breast cancer is misdiagnosed or a delay in diagnosis occurs, she is likely to experience a number of difficulties that could potentially have been avoided.

Sadly, breast cancer misdiagnosis occurs with greater regularity than it should; however, in many circumstances, misdiagnosis can be considered a form of medical malpractice, as doctors who misdiagnose this condition do so because they failed to perform standard tests and follow reasonable protocols.

Breast cancer can be extremely serious and dangerous for patients, and a misdiagnosis of this condition can increase these dangers. The dangers of a misdiagnosed breast cancer condition might include the following:

  • Spread of cancer cells
  • Development of tumors
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Decreased physical strength / weakness
  • Emergency surgery

Facing breast cancer at any point can be terrifying; however, finding out your condition was misdiagnosed or diagnosed far later than it should have been can be even more frightening, especially when considering the repercussions.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in American men, with about 27,000 individuals losing their lives to this disease every year. In order to help protect men from this potentially deadly disease, doctors must carefully pay attention to symptoms of prostate cancer and perform proper diagnostic tests so that this condition can be detected and treated as early as possible. Otherwise, prostate cancer can metastasize, after which the average prognosis for survival is only one to three years.

Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system. Its symptoms are wide-ranging and can cause many different issues. For example, some symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during urination
  • Blood in one’s urine
  • Difficulty starting / stopping urination
  • Urine leaking while laughing or coughing
  • Inability to urinate while standing
  • Weak urine flow

Each of these situations might suggest that a patient has prostate cancer, but sometimes doctors or other medical practitioners make errors in their diagnoses, such as wrongful diagnosis or late diagnosis.

Colon Cancer

Sometimes medical errors or malpractice leads to a case of colon cancer being misdiagnosed. As a result of this failure to properly diagnose, a person suffering from colon cancer may not discover they have the illness until it has progressed to a point where it is extremely dangerous and much harder to treat.

When a misdiagnosis of colon cancer occurs, the cancer might be allowed to develop into more advanced stages, with each progressive stage posing greater dangers to the person. The different stages of development for colon cancer include:

  • Stage I – Cancer is contained within the colon wall.
  • Stage II – Cancer may have spread outside the colon wall, but not to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage III – Cancer has invaded nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV – Cancer has spread widely, sometimes affecting internal organs.

While each stage of colon cancer can pose dangers, the earlier doctors can detect and diagnose this form of cancer, the better chance a patient has of receiving successful treatment and recovering.

Ovarian Cancer

As with all types of cancer, the sooner ovarian cancer is detected and treated, the better a woman’s chances of survival. If ovarian cancer is caught when it is at stage I, a woman has an 89% chance of surviving the next five years. Unfortunately, if ovarian cancer is not identified and diagnosed until stage III or later, a woman’s five-year survival rate drops to 34%. Thus, it is important for doctors to fully investigate a woman’s health when she presents signs of ovarian cancer, as early diagnosis is key to survival. Failure to correctly diagnose this condition can be deadly.

Cancer treatment depends on a quick and accurate diagnosis, as any mistakes with identifying this disease can have devastating repercussions. Doctors should be able to distinguish the following symptoms as signs of ovarian cancer and perform diagnostic testing accordingly:

  • Abdominal pressure or bloating
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic pain
  • Changes in urination
  • Fatigue
  • Inexplicable changes in weight

Doctors who fail to correctly diagnose patients with ovarian cancer can not only prolong their pain and suffering, but also decrease their chances of survival.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most deadly form of cancer for both men and women in the United States, claiming over 155,000 lives per year. As with all types of cancer, however, the earlier doctors diagnose and treat lung and bronchial cancer, the better prognosis patients have. Unfortunately, inattentive or negligent doctors sometimes fail to diagnose patients’ lung cancer, potentially delaying the treatment they need to survive.

In many cases, doctors who fail to diagnose lung cancer misread the symptoms of the condition or do not perform the correct diagnostic tests to see if lung cancer is the problem. However, general symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent, heavy cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • Pain throughout the body
  • Hoarseness / lost voice
  • Discharge of bloody mucus when coughing

If you are exhibiting these symptoms yet your doctor does not pay attention to your lung cancer concerns, it is best to seek a second opinion just in case. You can also hold your doctor responsible for his or her failure to properly screen and diagnose your cancer.

Cervical Cancer

Unfortunately, sometimes physicians ignore the key symptoms of cervical cancer, misdiagnosing the condition or delaying diagnosis. This in turn can lead to a dangerous delay in treatment. When women notice the following signs, they should report them to their doctor right away, as they can indicate issues such as cervical cancer. Additionally, physicians should be able to recognize these symptoms as possible cervical cancer and order applicable diagnostic tests:

  • Watery, sometimes bloody discharge from vagina
  • Vaginal bleeding outside of menstrual period
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pelvic pain

If your doctor has misread these symptoms or failed to perform tests that would determine whether you have cervical cancer, you might be a victim of medical malpractice in the form of cancer misdiagnosis.

Brain Tumors

As brain tumors grow, they can put intense pressure on certain areas of the brain as well as lead to issues such as edema and hydrocephalus. All of these can disrupt a brain’s normal functioning, leading to brain tumor symptoms including:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of sensation in limbs
  • Sensory loss, such as hearing loss or vision problems
  • Changes in personality
  • Memory problems
  • Speech problems
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Seizures

Doctors should be able to recognize these symptoms as indicators of brain tumors and perform the correct diagnostic tests accordingly. Failure to do so can cause irreparable brain damage or even lead to the metastasis of tumors throughout the body.

If your doctor failed to recognize the symptoms of any of the above cancers, they have demonstrated serious negligence or incompetence in their professional duties. Even if your symptoms are not initially clear indicators of these types of cancers, it is your doctor’s duty to research and test for the cause of these problems until they get the right diagnosis.

You place your trust in your doctor because of their years of experience in the medical field. When this trust is broken, because of a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis, it is infuriating for you and your loved ones. Beyond the emotional impact this betrayal of trust causes, the consequences of a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer can be life-threatening. This doctor or medical team must be held responsible for their actions.

Dangers of Delayed or Misdiagnosed Cancer

Cancer is a disease that gets progressively worse with time if the problem is not identified and then promptly treated. Fortunately, over the last several decades, there have been many medical advances in cancer research and treatment, which have allowed patients to recover from cancer and continue to lead normal lives after treatment. Many of these treatments, however, are most effective if a doctor begins treatment during the early stages of the disease.

Obviously, any delayed diagnosis can pose serious threats to a person’s safety, but with cancer, the dangers are even more prominent. Some of the dangers of a cancer misdiagnosis stem from:

  • Feeling steadily worse, health-wise
  • The spread of cancer cells around the body
  • Cancer attacking internal organs
  • Moving beyond medical help, if the diagnosis is delayed long enough

These are just a few examples of the many different ways a cancer misdiagnosis can seriously affect your recovery and your life. All of these dangers clearly make early detection and diagnosis of cancer very important, not just for a patient, but also for his or her loved ones. Cancer is a difficult disease to manage, but with a medical professional at your side, you should be able to expect the best possible treatment. When this is not the case, you have the right to fight back against the pain and suffering your doctor’s behavior has caused.

Contact Crowe & Harris, LLP

If you or someone you know has suffered advanced cancer or a terminal cancer diagnosis as a result of a medical provider’s delay, our attorneys may be able to help you find out more about what happened, and whether you are entitled to compensation.

Contact a Boston cancer misdiagnosis lawyer at Crowe & Harris, LLP by calling (617) 404-3417 for a free consultation with an experienced member of our medical-legal team. Your doctor’s failure to act has caused your family significant suffering, but you do not have to manage these consequences alone.

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