Being diagnosed with cancer is scary. Those who come face-to-face with this reality often find themselves worrying about their future, both as far as their health and their financial well-being. After all, cancer treatment can be enormously expensive. The good news is that many forms of cancer are treatable nowadays, and constant medical and technological innovations are increasing the prospects of cancer survivors, seemingly by the day.
Yet, one of the keys to effective cancer treatment is timely diagnosis. Therefore, medical professionals need to know how to spot the symptoms of cancer, test them appropriately, then prescribe the right courses of treatment. Although this should occur all of the time, in far too many instances medical malpractice occurs, leaving unsuspecting patients with harm on many fronts.
Let’s take a look at breast cancer as an example. This form of cancer is highly receptive to treatment, but it has to be detected first. There are a number of ways that breast cancer can be diagnosed, including by physical examination whereby the doctor uses his or her hands to feel for abnormalities in the lymph nodes, and mammograms which are essentially x-rays of the breast meant to further analyze the lump in question.
But those aren’t the only tests that can be utilized by doctors. They can also order a breast ultrasound, which can show the tissue structure deep inside the breast, thereby allowing doctors to determine if the lump is a solid mass and possibly cancerous or merely a fluid-filled cyst. A MRI can also help medical professionals see the breast and any abnormalities within it. Perhaps the final step, and oftentimes the most important, is the biopsy. Here, a piece of tissue from the lump is extracted and analyzed for cancerous cells.
Even with all of these tools at their disposal, doctors all too often fail to order these tests or they inaccurately read test results, which lead to misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. When it comes to cancer, this can have huge ramifications, including reducing your quality of life, increasing the need for more extensive treatment, and maybe even decreasing your chances of survival. If you find yourself in this tragic situation, then it may be time to speak with a legal professional about the possibility of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.