UNITED STATES—Cancer is the number one killer globally. According to the World Health Organization, there were approximately 10 million cancer-related deaths globally in 2020, accounting for one in every six deaths. 

Unfortunately, many types of cancers present as other ailments as many escape the doctor’s attention. In most cases, this results in delayed cancer diagnosis, making it easy for the disease to spread further and become more difficult to treat. 

If you believe a delayed cancer diagnosis hindered your cancer recovery, this post attempts to answer some of the questions you could have. 

Is Late Cancer Diagnosis An Accident?

Yes. A late cancer diagnosis is an accident. However, the fact that delayed diagnosis is an accident doesn’t absolve the blame from a doctor or an institution that failed to make an early diagnosis. 

Medical professionals owe a duty of care to the patients they treat. Duty of care means handling a case in the standard of care that any reasonable doctor would under the circumstances.

If breached duty of care results in a late cancer diagnosis, the doctor can be said to have acted negligently, creating grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

While proving negligence in a late cancer diagnosis lawsuit may sound simple on paper, it can be challenging compared to other injury claims. Succeeding in a late diagnosis lawsuit requires working with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer.

If you need more information on delayed cancer diagnosis or help with getting a lawyer for your case, this Delayed Cancer Diagnosis website is worth looking at.

Are All Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Negligent?

Not all delayed cancer diagnosis cases amount to negligence; a doctor or a medical institution can only be liable for medical malpractice if the following elements exist.

  • Duty of care: The plaintiff must prove with evidence that there was a doctor-patient relationship between them and the defendant.
  • Breach of duty: Show that the defendant breached their duty of care.
  • Causation: The breach of care must have caused harm to the plaintiff
  • Damages: There must be proof that the plaintiff suffered damages (economic and non-economic) due to injuries resulting from a breach of duty.

Breach of duty of care or a deviation from standard care which would give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit in a delayed cancer diagnosis can include:

  • Failure to collect a detailed family history of the patient based on symptoms presented
  • Failure to conduct thorough examinations based on the symptoms
  • Misread test results
  • Misinterpretation of symptoms
  • Failure to screen for cancer while symptoms show a likelihood of cancer
  • Failure to refer the patient for further examination in a better-equipped facility
  • Mislabeled lab results

Why Timely Diagnosis of Cancer Is Critical

There are five stages of cancer, with every higher stage presenting increased challenges in treatment. The earlier a patient gets a cancer diagnosis, the better their chance of fighting the disease. Below is a breakdown of the stages:

  • Stage zero: The cancer cells are in their initial location and have not spread to adjacent tissues. 
  • Stage one: The cancer cells have spread to adjacent tissue, but only minimally. 
  • Stages two and three: Cancer has spread significantly in the adjacent tissue by this time. Also, there could be the possibility that cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. 
  • Stage four is the most advanced cancer stage and most challenging to treat.

Recoverable Damages

Like other injury claims, recoverable damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit include lost wages, medical bills, cost of medication, pain, and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and psychological pain. A wrongful death may also apply if the delayed diagnosis results in the death of a patient.

Remember, the success of any claim will depend on the quality of evidence presented and the lawyer you choose for your case, so you may want to be cautious when selecting one.