Cancer of the vulva refers to malignant cells that form in or around the opening of the vagina. It most often affects the inner edges of the labia. Though vulvar cancer is rare, doctors should have it in mind when examining women who are experiencing symptoms affecting their genital region. Vulvar cancer is treatable when caught early but becomes much harder to manage as it grows and spreads to nearby tissues and lymph nodes.
If a medical professional misdiagnosed your vulvar cancer and caused you to suffer harm, you could be in line to receive substantial compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The first step is to meet with a vulvar cancer misdiagnosis lawyer who can review your case and let you know what your options are. The Newsome | Melton team offers a free, no-risk case evaluation to determine how we might be able to help you.
To schedule an appointment today, call us at 800-916-7333.
Call Newsome | Melton if a Medical Professional Missed Your Vulvar Cancer Symptoms or Risk Factors
To make a proper diagnosis of vulvar cancer, a medical professional must be aware of the symptoms and make a definitive diagnosis of vulvar cancer as appropriate. If you present with one or more vulvar cancer symptoms, your physician has a duty to order further evaluations to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Further, vulvar cancer also has many risk factors of which your doctor should have been aware. These genetic and lifestyle characteristics can predispose you to vulvar cancer, greatly increasing your chances of developing the condition.
Common Symptoms of Vulvar Cancer
Common vulvar cancer symptoms include:
- An abnormal spot on the vulva
- A red, pink, or white bump or lump, which might have a wart-like appearance
- Thickening of vulvar skin
- A burning sensation
- Bleeding or discharge
- An open sore that lasts a month or longer
The presence of any of these symptoms should have raised a red flag to the medical professional handling your case. If they did not practice due diligence and get to the bottom of your symptoms, our medical malpractice lawyers can build a case that the medical provider did not uphold their duty of care and is thus guilty of malpractice.
Common Risk Factors for Vulvar Cancer
The most common risk factors for vulvar cancer are as follows:
- Age: Vulvar cancer is more common in older women. Most women diagnosed with non-invasive vulvar cancer are at least 50, while the average age of women diagnosed with invasive vulvar cancer is 70, according to the American Cancer Society.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Smoking: Smokers have an increased risk of developing vulvar cancer.
- Melanoma or atypical moles on other parts of the body.
Any medical provider presented with that information should have conducted a complete medical history to screen for risk factors for not just vulvar cancer but other potentially life-threatening illnesses. Without knowing the diseases your genetic or lifestyle conditions predispose you to, your doctor might not have the information they need to make the right diagnosis when time is a critical factor.
We Can Build a Compelling Case That Your Doctor Committed Malpractice
To win compensation for the harm you suffered from the medical professional’s misdiagnosis, we have to demonstrate that they committed malpractice. This requires us to prove several things.
One, the medical professional had a duty of care to you.
Two, they did not uphold this duty of care.
Three, you suffered harm because of the medical professional’s failure.
And four, you incurred economic or noneconomic damages because of the harm you suffered.
Duty of Care
We must first demonstrate that your doctor had a duty of care to you. To establish a duty of care, we simply must show that you were an active patient of your doctor at the time of the misdiagnosis. We can show this by presenting insurance statements, office bills, and other correspondences.
Breach of Duty
We then need to demonstrate that your doctor breached their duty of care to you. By using something called the reasonable person standard, we can show that your doctor’s actions were insufficient compared to what would be expected of a reasonable person faced with the same situation.
To serve as the reasonable person, we can bring in an expert medical witness to review the evidence and testify as to whether your doctor should have made the proper diagnosis. If our witness concludes that they should have, we can argue that your doctor shirked their duty of care by not behaving the way a reasonable and diligent physician should have behaved.
Having established that your doctor did not behave reasonably and thus abandoned their duty of care, we need to tie that failure to the injuries you suffered. In some cases, the connection is clear-cut. However, in any case, we make it as strong and as compelling as possible by presenting medical records, statements from other physicians, lab test reports, pictures, and other powerful documents.
Finally, when we have established that your doctor failed to uphold their duty of care and as a result caused you to suffer harm, we must link your injuries to specific damages that you incurred.
These damages can be economic (e.g., medical bills, lost wages) or noneconomic (e.g., pain and suffering).