The medical malpractice lawyers at Medical Malpractice Help can help you pursue a claim against a doctor who misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose metastatic cancer. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. To schedule an appointment right away, call us at 800-916-7333.
How to Recognize and Diagnose Metastatic Cancer
To recognize metastatic cancer, a doctor first must find the cancer at its point of origin, then order further testing to determine the extent of the tumor and how far it has spread.
When a doctor treats a cancer locally but fails to recognize that it has spread beyond its point of origin or there is inadequate follow-up care and treatment, including PET scans, the cancer continues to grow and spread in the body. This allows the cancer to become untreatable and, eventually, the patient might die from this malpractice.
Doctors should be aware of the most common points of origin for metastatic cancer. That way, if the doctor diagnoses cancer in one of these locations, he or she knows it is imperative to investigate further.
Here are some of the most common forms of cancer that metastasize, along with the areas where they most often spread:
- Bladder cancer often spreads to the bone, liver, or lung;
- Breast cancer can spread to the bone, brain, liver, or lung;
- Colon cancer spreads to the liver and lungs;
- Kidney cancer can spread to the bone, brain, liver, or lung;
- Lung cancer often spreads to the brain, bone, liver, or the other lung;
- Melanoma can progress to the bone, brain, liver, and lung;
- Ovarian cancer spreads to the liver and lungs;
- Pancreatic cancer can progress to the lungs or the liver;
- Prostate cancer spreads to the liver, bone, or lungs;
- Rectal cancer can metastasize to the lungs or the liver;
- Stomach cancer might spread to the liver or lungs;
- Thyroid cancer often spreads to the lungs, liver, or bones; and
- Uterine cancer can affect a patient’s bones, liver, or lungs.
Symptoms of Metastatic Cancer
The symptoms of metastatic cancer span a broad gamut. Sometimes it has no symptoms. Whether or not you present with symptoms, and what those symptoms are, depends on the type of cancer you have and where it has spread in your body.
Here are the most common symptoms of metastatic cancer for the four most common areas of metastasis—the brain, lungs, liver, and bones:
- Headaches, seizures, and dizziness are common symptoms of brain cancer;
- Shortness of breath can accompany lung cancer;
- Patients with liver cancer often experience jaundice and swelling of the belly; and
- Bone cancer can cause pain and fractures.
Additionally, once an individual has been diagnosed with cancer, a health care provider must follow established guidelines for follow up. This may include blood work, radiology studies, procedures, etc. depending on the specific type of cancer.
Winning a Medical Malpractice Case Against a Doctor Who Misdiagnosed or Failed to Diagnose Metastatic Cancer
As with any medical malpractice lawsuit, a successful claim against a doctor who misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose metastatic cancer must prove four things.
Duty of Care
First, our claim must show that your doctor had a duty of care to you. This is easily established by a doctor-patient relationship. If the doctor treated you for localized cancer or anything else, he or she had a duty of care to you, which includes following up on any evidence that your cancer might have spread.
Breach of Duty
Second, we have to prove that your doctor breached his or her duty of care. To do this, we call upon the “reasonable person” standard. We show evidence that a reasonable doctor, faced with the same situation and in possession of the same information as your doctor, would have been able to diagnose your or your loved one’s metastatic cancer.
Injury to Patient
Third, we need to link the doctor’s misdiagnosis to the injuries you or your loved one suffered. This involves proving that your physician’s failure to diagnose your cancer increased your risk of harm or death.
Economic or Non-Economic Damages
Last, we must present the economic and non-economic damages you or your loved one suffered from these injuries. These damages might include your treatment costs, lost income from work, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish. Our attorneys will calculate how much compensation you are entitled to based on the facts of your case.
If a doctor misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose metastatic cancer, and you or your loved one suffered injuries or lost his or her life, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do. The Medical Malpractice Help team can help you try to hold the doctor liable for his or her negligence.