The Dangers of Delayed Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

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ABC News Radio reported on October 3, 2019, that a 38-year-old woman was dealing with symptoms for five years before a biopsy revealed she had vulvar cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimated approximately 6,000 women will be diagnosed with and about 1,200 women will die from in 2019.

The outlet noted that both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute said many women with vulvar cancer experience no symptoms at all. Also, cancer could look like an infection (the woman who was the subject of the story was treated for yeast infections and lichen sclerosis during the five years preceding her diagnosis), which can lead to a delayed diagnosis.

With virtually all kinds of cancer, an earlier diagnosis is always better because more treatment options are usually available. A delayed diagnosis may be costly because the patient might miss out on specific forms of treatment had they been diagnosed earlier. The patient will often require more aggressive treatments that may cause side-effects or other possible complications and also have a lower likelihood for survival.

A diagnosis is only one part of the recovery equation, as a person also must begin their cancer treatment soon after any diagnosis. A delay in beginning treatment can also be especially costly for a person, and people who start treatment later often have worse outcomes than those who begin promptly.

Causes of Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnoses are incredibly common, and the reasons they happen can vary depending on the patient. In many cases, doctors fail to account for a patient’s symptoms or other risk factors.

Some cases can involve a physician’s failure to order proper diagnostic tests or possible misinterpretation of test results. There could also be a failure to accurately communicate test results to patients.

As a 2016 study in the Oman Medical Journal stated, patient delays can occur when a patient fails to recognize and act on suspicious cancer symptoms, as many people are unable to identify common cancer symptoms. Cancer.gov, the official website of the National Cancer Institute, notes that some of the most common cancer symptoms include:

  • Breast changes
  • Bladder changes
  • Bleeding or bruising, for no known reason
  • Bowel changes
  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
  • Eating problems
  • Fatigue that is severe and lasts
  • Fever or night sweats for no known reason
  • Mouth changes
  • Neurological problems
  • Skin changes
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere such as in the neck, underarm, stomach, and groin
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Contact a New York Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer

If you were the victim of a missed or delayed diagnosis, be sure to contact a lawyer with the right experience to handle your case. Finz & Finz, P.C., has successfully handled claims involving a delayed diagnosis, including securing a 9.2 million-dollar settlement on behalf of an individual in New York. Don’t wait to get the qualified legal help you deserve. Call (855) TOP-FIRM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.