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What Happens After a Missed Cancer Diagnosis

Healthcare professional talking to patient

When it comes to cancer, early detection is essential. Around one of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death. Sadly, cancer can be missed even during routine screenings and exams.

If you have recently seen a doctor who missed your cancer diagnosis, you may wonder what happened and what your next steps are. To help alleviate your stress, the Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP team put together this blog to provide readers with some clarity during this difficult time. We hope this information helps you get the treatment you need to start feeling better soon.

What Happened?

A missed cancer diagnosis can happen for a multitude of reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • The doctor failed to screen at-risk patients
  • The doctor failed to complete a thorough examination
  • The doctor classified the mass as non-cancerous
  • A cancerous lesion was missed in a biopsy
  • A cancerous lesion was missed on a mammogram, x-ray, CT scan, MRI or other diagnostic study

Consequences of a Late Diagnosis

If cancer is not detected early on, the disease can spread or “metastasize”, making it less treatable. Treatments are also pricey for those in the late stages of cancer, which can significantly impact your chances of survival.

A delayed diagnosis can be considered medical negligence or malpractice if a doctor breached their duty of care while you were under their supervision.

Next Steps

A cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering event, and it can be difficult to know where to turn for support. Seeking out mental, emotional, legal, and financial support can be beneficial for cancer patients and their families.

Legal Action

If your cancer diagnosis was missed or delayed, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. However, to do so, you must prove the following four elements:

  • The doctor owed a duty to you as a patient.
  • The doctor breached that duty of care.
  • Your injury was caused directly by that breach.
  • The injury resulted in damages.

Once you can prove all four points, you must gather documentation about the diagnosis or late diagnosis. Keep track of every document that shows the progression of your diagnosis, the tests, treatments, and the medications you paid for, as it can help better your chances of proving your case. We will also help getting the medical records needed to prove your case.

If you still have not been diagnosed but believe your doctor missed a cancer diagnosis, be sure to get a second opinion before seeking legal action. You cannot file a medical malpractice claim without a confirmed cancer diagnosis from another doctor.

Mental and Emotional Help

Mental health professionals can provide guidance and support during this difficult time. Cancer patients may also benefit from support groups, which offer an opportunity to connect with others who are facing similar challenges. The American Cancer Society has excellent resources for those who were recently diagnosed with cancer. You can find resources on treatments, survivorship, and support groups on the site.

A cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. In addition to the physical and emotional toll cancer takes on a person, there is also the financial burden. Cancer treatment is expensive, and often insurance does not cover all of the costs.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys

The good news is that we can help. The Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP team provides compassionate legal services to those who have been affected by a missed or delayed cancer diagnosis. We can help you navigate the complex legal journey of a medical malpractice case and fight for the compassion you not only need but deserve.

If you or a loved one have experienced a missed or delayed cancer diagnosis, give our office a call at (800) 572-7246 or visit our Contact Us page to get started on a consultation request form.