Cancer is one of the words that no one wants to hear when they go to their doctor. After all, cancer is a progressive illness that requires drastic and often painful medical treatments. However, the sooner that you find out you have cancer, the better your prognosis is.
When a doctor successfully diagnoses you with cancer in Stage 1 or Stage 2, you will have more treatment options and a better chance of a full recovery. Once cancer reaches Stage 3 or Stage 4, it can be much more difficult to successfully treat.
Unfortunately, not all doctors do their due diligence when working toward a diagnosis of a patient. They may cut corners and make assumptions that end up drastically impacting the lives of their patients.
Doctors should rule out every cause of a symptom
There are only so many different symptoms that people experience related to medical conditions. Any given disease or condition can have a dozen or more potential symptoms. At the same time, a single symptom could be related to dozens or even hundreds of different diseases.
Although it is normal and natural to want the solution to be simple, proper diagnosis requires that doctors rule out more severe and dangerous conditions before determining that it is a less serious issue.
The same symptoms that you experience with a cold could also be a warning sign of certain kinds of cancer. A rash that might look like it is the result of scabies could actually be the first physical symptom of lymphoma. When doctors jump to conclusions, patients may have to wait weeks or months to get the right diagnosis.
Delayed diagnosis can directly impact your medical care
Your options for cancer treatment will vary based on the location of the cancer, the stage to which it has progressed, the facilities available at your local hospital, your insurance coverage and any other medical conditions or issues you have. It is almost universally true that people have the best chances of remission in the earlier stages of cancer, as well as access to less invasive treatment options.
If your doctor diagnoses you with something incorrectly before ruling out cancer as the cause of your symptoms, the extra weeks or months between when you tell them about the issue and when you actually start treatment could have a profound impact on how difficult and expensive your care becomes.
If your doctor failed to diagnose you, that may be a form of medical malpractice. Sitting down to talk about it with an attorney can let you make an informed decision about whether pursuing a claim or lawsuit could help your family.