Cancer Malpractice: Misdiagnosis or Negligent Treatment
Medical malpractice can occur in cancer cases in a variety of ways. A health care professional can ignore a patient’s complaints – for example, not taking them seriously enough to initiate further testing or referring the patient to the proper specialist. Additionally, a health care professional could simply misread tests and/or x-rays that could help detect cancer, thereby providing the patient with a negative reading and a false sense of security when the cancer is actually present and progressing.
Screening for cancer, and being properly trained to quickly and accurately pinpoint the signs of the disease, are vital responsibilities of health care professionals. Failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice, and may mean the difference between life and death.
For the various types of cancers, as with many other diseases, the key to obtaining the best possible outcome is early diagnosis. In fact, effective treatment today (including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery) has given great hope to cancer patients who receive early detection of their disease. Much has been accomplished in the past few years in terms of educating the public about early warning signs and symptoms of different cancers and the importance of seeking regular medical attention for early detection of cancer. However, there are still many people who, unfortunately, receive delayed cancer diagnoses – not because of their own lack of awareness, but due to the error or negligence of their health care professionals.
There are a number of different diagnostic tests and procedures that should be done for each specific form of cancer to maximize the chance of successful treatment. In addition, all health care professionals should be regularly evaluating their patients with appropriate medical histories and exams to determine, and address, any specific risk factors for different types of cancer.