If you believe that your cancer diagnosis was not made correctly, you may have a medical malpractice case. There are a number of ways that cancer cases come to light. Perhaps your cancer was misdiagnosed as something else. As an example, prostate cancer is sometimes misdiagnosed as BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy, or perhaps your diagnosis was delayed—a radiologist reported an abnormality on a mammogram or a chest x-ray, but the doctor who ordered the study overlooked the report until the next office visit a year later. Or, perhaps the diagnosis was never made and you found out after-the-fact that a loved one died from an undiagnosed cancer.
There is little argument that the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the better it is for the patient. Most cancers are defined by their stage and grade. Stage and grade are related to the prognosis—what to expect of the cancer going forward in time. Stage and grade also say something about the cancer at an earlier point in time. Perhaps it has changed little between the time it was overlooked and the time it was diagnosed, or perhaps it was smaller and more curable at the time.
Stages of Cancer
Stage has to do with the size of a tumor and how far it has spread outside of the organ where it began—the lung, breast, colon, prostate, etc. Stages do not mean the same thing across the spectrum of cancers. A stage 2 breast cancer is not the same as a stage 2 prostate cancer. They do not carry the same risk of recurrence, or likelihood of 5 or 10 year survival. Each type of cancer must be considered individually.
Grades of Cancer
The grade of a cancer relates to how aggressive the cancer is, how quickly or slowly it can be expected to grow. In the case of a very aggressive cancer, a brief delay in diagnosis may be very significant because it may be said that the aggressive cancer was much smaller, at a lower stage, just a few months earlier. On the other hand, a slow-growing cancer—one with a lower grade—may not change very much until the passage of many months or years and a brief delay in diagnosis would then be less significant.
Do I Have a Case?
As with all medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) must prove that a healthcare provider (e.g. the doctor, nurse, or dentist) gave substandard care that resulted in harm to the plaintiff. And, this proof must come through the testimony of an expert witness. When our team of medical malpractice attorneys at Keches Law Group analyze a cancer case, we begin by taking a medical history, much like a physician would do. We consider a person’s risk factors, personal and family history, signs and symptoms. We consider what the healthcare provider knew or should have known about the patient, and we examine the course of treatment that the provider recommended. The care that your doctor recommended cannot be compared to today’s standards but rather must be compared to the standard of care that existed at the time that the doctor was caring for you.
The analysis of a cancer case—whether it is a misdiagnosis, a failure to diagnose, or a delayed diagnosis—requires a unique level of legal expertise. We do not refer medical malpractice cases to other law firms. At Keches Law Group, our team of medical malpractice attorneys concentrate only on medical malpractice cases. We are skilled at analyzing medical records and we have solid working relationships with qualified medical experts.
If you believe that you, a friend, or relative may have suffered medical malpractice related to a cancer diagnosis, we can help. It may be as simple as a telephone conversation. If, in fact, you have been the victim of medical malpractice, we will fight for your rights as a patient and get you the damages entitled to you.
The medical malpractice department at Keches Law Group can help you figure out whether you have a case, and what steps to take next. Call Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 for a free consultation today, or visit us online.