Cancer is formed when abnormal cells in a person’s body regenerate uncontrollably. The excess cells clump up and turn into a tumor. A tumor may be benign or cancerous. The cancer cells may also travel through the bloodstream and create cancer in other parts of the body.
Cancer can be lethal if it is not treated, but with early detection, many forms of cancer are easily treatable. Unfortunately, advanced forms of cancer continue to plague the health of many people. Lack of early diagnoses is attributed to the formation of advanced forms of cancer. Many malpractice suits are filed every year because of medical mistakes and negligence. The following are some common types of cancer that can be cured without too many complications if medical practitioners took adequate measures to make accurate and early diagnoses:
- Breast Cancer: early detection can spare the health and life of a patient. Mammography every six months is the standard of care for the physician if suspicious tissues appear on the patient’s breast.
- Cervical Cancer: with early detection, the rate of cure is extremely high. Non-detection can cause infertility or in the extreme case, death. Pap smear is the test that is available to detect cervical cancer.
- Colon Cancer: it is the second deadliest form of cancer. Early detection may help alleviate the symptoms, which include rectal bleeding. Colonoscopy is the test that is available for detection of colon cancer.
Cause of Misdiagnosis
Several theories exist that explain why cancer is misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all until the cancer threatens the lives of patients. First, some physicians do not administer the common test, such as colonoscopy for cost reasons. Second, even when the test is administered on the patient, miscommunication between the primary care physician and the radiologist who analyze the test can lead to a misdiagnosis.
Malpractice Law Suit
Like all other medical malpractice lawsuits, in order to bring a claim for failure to diagnose cancer, the claimant has to prove the following elements:
- The physician had a duty to the patient;
- The physician breached his/her duty to the patient;
- The patient’s injuries were caused by the physician’s breach.
To prove that the physician breached his/her duty, the patient has to show that the physician did not meet the standard of care that is established by the medical profession. The failure to conduct the tests that detect the cancer when several symptoms indicate that the patient is subject to cancer may be enough to prove that the physician breached his/her duty to the patient.