Your Rights After a Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, making up 13 percent of all new cancer cases. Lung cancer is also the second most common form of cancer among both men and women. Each year, there are about 228,000 new cases of lung cancer. Annually, over 142,000 people die from lung cancer.
Contact a NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you have experienced a lung cancer misdiagnosis, or your doctor diagnosed you with lung cancer by mistake, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. It’s important to discuss your case with a New York City medical malpractice lawyer. There are time limits for filing a medical malpractice claim, so don’t wait to speak to a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer about your options.
As with all cancers, early detection and prompt treatment are important for improving long-term survival rates. While people who smoke are at the highest risk of developing lung cancer, the disease can also occur in people who have never smoked. Additionally, the majority of people diagnosed with lung cancer are age 65 and older. However, lung cancer can affect people of all ages.
Because lung cancer tends to develop in people who are older, as well as people who smoke or have smoked in the past, doctors can sometimes dismiss lung cancer as a possible cause of symptoms in people who don’t fit these demographics.
Also, lung cancer symptoms can often mimic symptoms of other health conditions. When doctors fail to diagnose lung cancer or misdiagnosis it as another illness, patients can suffer lasting harm.
What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
Although other common types of cancer are routinely screened for in patients at risk, this is rarely the case for lung cancer. The majority of doctors don’t perform any type of testing unless a patient presents with certain symptoms. Symptoms include a cough that won’t go away, chest pain, wheezing, coughing up blood, bone pain, and persistent headaches.
As with many other health conditions, lung cancer symptoms can vary from patient to patient, which makes it important for doctors to conduct certain types of testing to rule out lung cancer or confirm a lung cancer diagnosis before recommending or beginning any kind of treatment.
Tests varying among practitioners, as well as according to the needs of the patient. Some of the most common tests and screenings used to detect lung cancer include MRIs, PET scans, x-rays, and biopsies. Doctors may also perform a sputum analysis or a bronchoscopy if they suspect a patient may have lung cancer.
A sputum analysis is a test that analyzes secretions produced by a patient’s cough. With this type of test, doctors and pathologists review the cells within the secretions to look for cancer cells. However, cells contained in sputum don’t always necessarily exhibit signs of cancer despite the presence of cancer within a patient’s lungs.
A bronchoscopy may be performed on a patient with suspected lung cancer. This type of test is performed with the insertion of a tube into the patient’s airways, usually through the mouth or the nose. This allows doctors to view any tumors that might be present in the lungs. If a doctor sees a tumor, they will typically conduct further testing to determine if lung cancer is present.
A biopsy involves the removal of a piece of tissue from the affected part of the body. In the case of lung cancer, doctors typically biopsy a patient’s lungs by using a very fine needle. Biopsies aren’t foolproof, and misdiagnoses can still occur, so it’s important for doctors to perform other testing if necessary.
Lung Cancer Can Be Misdiagnosed as Other Diseases
Unfortunately, it’s possible for doctors to misdiagnose lung cancer for something else. In some patients, they may miss lung cancer because they confuse it with another lung condition, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, or lung nodules.
When doctors miss lung cancer, they delay a patient’s treatment. This can allow the cancer to spread to other areas of the body. It also subjects the patient to more aggressive and more invasive treatment in the future. In the most devastating cases, a patient dies because their doctor misdiagnosed their lung cancer.
In other cases, a doctor diagnoses a patient with lung cancer by mistake. This can lead to invasive treatments that cause a patient unnecessary pain, stress, and even harm.