Like a lightning bolt, the disbelief strikes you and your family. How could this be? Months ago, you met with your trusted physician because you experienced constant back pain and fatigue. You were prescribed some medication and enrolled in a few weeks of physical therapy. But after a second opinion, you learn that you have cancer. The result of the delay: The cancer has spread or metastasized, and you may only have a few months to live.
Cancer is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases. Health care professionals are not infallible and can make subtle or drastic mistakes. Perhaps they believed there was no need to order additional tests, or maybe they just did not recognize the symptoms. A persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, swollen glands and unexpected weight loss are all signs of potential cancer.
A timely diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment
Time is of the essence in treating cancer. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can occur, increasing the chances that the patient will recover. However, a delayed diagnosis puts the patient’s life in jeopardy.
The cancer likely has advanced beyond the stage of effective treatment. The sense of urgency, however, remains, but now the patient has less time to fight for his or her life. Another consequence: Treatment may be prolonged and expensive at that.
Commonly misdiagnosed cancers include:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Lung cancer
As more medical facilities subscribe to an assembly line-type philosophy to medical care, overworked physicians become the norm. Get the patients in as fast as you can and get them out the door just as swiftly. And additional testing may be considered too expensive and unnecessary.
But patients should not have to have their lives placed at risk by negligent medical professionals. If you or someone in your family find yourselves in such a bewildering predicament, a skilled medical malpractice attorney would be among the go-to people to seek advice.