Doctor speaking with patient about not having cancer, yet it was a misdiagnosis/=.

Due to medical advances, many patients diagnosed with cancer in the early stages live healthy, productive lives. When patients are the victims of cancer misdiagnosis, they may miss their opportunity to receive the full benefit of treatment. Patients lose valuable time in their battle against cancer when physicians make the wrong diagnosis or fail to diagnose cancer in a timely manner. 

The Long Island medical malpractice attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are committed to advocating for patients who’ve suffered serious injuries due to medical malpractice. Doctors, insurance providers, and legal counsel will fight to minimize their liability. Working with Dell & Dean, PLLC will help you level the playing field and protect your rights. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC, to schedule a case evaluation. 

Why Is a Cancer Misdiagnosis So Dangerous for Patients?

One of the most egregious examples of medical malpractice is the misdiagnosis of cancer. When a doctor doesn’t accurately diagnose cancer at the earliest possible stage, the risk to the patient’s health increases dramatically. Patients are more likely to face serious complications or life-threatening health concerns. 

Cancer can progress and metastasize unchecked, making more effective medical treatment more complex and the patient’s prognosis less favorable. In some cases, a misdiagnosis of cancer can result in the death of a loved one. Most cancer misdiagnosis cases involve one or more of the following circumstances:

  • A doctor diagnoses a patient with the wrong disease or medical condition
  • A doctor fails to diagnose the patient within a reasonable period
  • The doctor correctly diagnoses the condition but doesn’t identify the underlying cause
  • A patient’s medication side effects are mistaken for an illness

Types of Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancer

Any type of cancer can be misdiagnosed when a physician doesn’t conduct a complete physical exam, order the appropriate diagnostic tests, and examine the test results. However, some types of cancer are more commonly diagnosed than others. 

Lung Cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer can vary, but early symptoms usually include coughing and wheezing. If doctors aren’t persistent when looking for the cause of the coughing, they may misdiagnose a patient with asthma, bronchial infection, the flu, or even the common cold.

Colorectal Cancer

The symptoms of colorectal cancer can include persistent constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, rectal bleeding, and abdominal discomfort. Patients may exhibit one or more of these symptoms, such as celiac disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Treatment is more challenging when colorectal cancer isn’t diagnosed and treated as early as possible. 

Breast Cancer

Ultrasounds and MRIs have improved the accuracy of breast cancer diagnoses. However, breast cancer misdiagnosis can still occur when analyzing diagnostic images and following them up with appropriate recommendations for patients. More dangerous, invasive treatments may become necessary when breast cancer isn’t diagnosed early on. 

Pancreatic Cancer

People with pancreatic cancer may experience back pain, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea before they exhibit other less prevalent symptoms. Doctors may mistakenly diagnose a patient with gallstones, pancreatitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. 

Cancerous Brain Tumors 

Brain tumors can cause many symptoms, including severe headaches, vision problems, nausea, speech problems, confusion, and behavior changes. Suppose these symptoms are misdiagnosed as psychological problems, signs of aging, or another common condition. In that case, the tumor will grow, impacting brain functions further and hindering the patient’s chances for successful treatment. 

How Does Cancer Misdiagnosis Occur?

Sometimes, delayed and incorrect cancer diagnoses are due to unspecified symptoms, such as bloating or abdominal pain. In other cases, cancer misdiagnosis is preventable and is caused by a doctor’s negligence. The patient’s primary care physician, oncologist, radiologist, surgeon, or other specialists may be liable for misdiagnosing the patient. Some of the most common instances of negligence and errors that can result in a cancer misdiagnosis include a physician’s failure to:

  • Collect specific genetic information about the patient
  • Take a complete, accurate medical history
  • Spend adequate time analyzing symptoms
  • Take early warning signs seriously
  • Consider the possibility of cancer because of specific factors, including age
  • Order appropriate diagnostic tests to accurately diagnose the cancer
  • Refer a patient to an appropriate, experienced specialist
  • Interpret test results accurately and communicate them with the patient

Cancer misdiagnosis can also occur due to inaccurate interpretation of pathology samples. When a pathologist lacks expertise or engages in negligence when reviewing pathology samples, he or she could indicate that the patient doesn’t have cancer when the patient does have cancer. 

Proving Liability in a Cancer Misdiagnosis Case

Recovering compensation requires the patient to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused his or her injuries. Doctors generally have liability insurance. After an incident of cancer misdiagnosis, insurance adjusters, hospital staff attorneys, and others may get involved. 

Patients may feel overwhelmed as the insurance adjusters attempt to deny their compensation claim or minimize the value of their claim. Working with an attorney can help you protect your interest. Your attorney can handle the negotiations with the insurance company and pursue the best settlement possible in your case.

Your attorney can gather evidence proving that the medical provider’s negligence caused your injuries and that your injuries resulted in economic damages. Specifically, you will need to prove that the misdiagnosis caused you an injury that resulted in damages. For example, you can recover compensation if you underwent dangerous or painful medical treatments that wouldn’t have been necessary if your cancer had not been misdiagnosed. 

Additionally, if you lost valuable time by not treating your medical condition, which worsened during that time, you can recover compensation for these damages. If your loved one died from a cancer misdiagnosis, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Long Island Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney

If you or your loved one have experienced a cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it’s crucial to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Medical malpractice cases are often demanding and complex, requiring the knowledge, skill, and resources of accomplished trial attorneys like those at Dell & Dean, PLLC. 

We will carefully review your case and help you understand whether you have a right to compensation for damages you’ve suffered due to a cancer misdiagnosis. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about your legal rights and options.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles cancer misdiagnosis claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.