No one wants to hear their doctor diagnose them with cancer. For some, cancer is a terminal diagnosis, meaning it will cost them their lives. For others, they can fight the cancer, but they will have to undergo surgery and invasive treatments like chemotherapy to achieve remission.
However frightening a doctor diagnosing you with cancer might be, their failure to diagnose you is a much more serious concern. When a doctor ignores or downplays your symptoms, your cancer could progress before you secure the correct diagnosis.
Some forms of cancers spread quickly
When you go to your doctor to report your symptoms and ask what they think you should do, you expect them to take your concerns seriously and to get to the bottom of the issue. Unfortunately, doctors may jump to conclusions and assume that something less serious is the cause of the symptoms.
Some cancers grow and spread through the body quickly. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lung cancer are both fast-spreading forms of cancer. On the other hand, many kinds of breast cancers and prostate cancers tend to grow more slowly, as do other forms of leukemia.
Someone with lung cancer could present with a cough and fatigue, which the doctor could incorrectly assume is merely a cold. Someone with leukemia might have pain in their knees because of the deterioration of their bone or a rash. Doctors might think that they overexerted themselves or have bed bugs instead of testing them for cancer. By the time someone gets a proper diagnosis, the disease may have metastasized or spread to other parts of their body.
At that point, more aggressive and expensive treatment will be needed. The individual will miss more work and will have a lower chance of successful treatment. The delayed diagnosis of cancer cannot just diminish someone’s quality of life but could actually prove fatal.
Diagnostic errors are a common form of malpractice
It is surprisingly common for medical doctors to ignore or downplay the symptoms that their patients report to the detriment of those patients. If your doctor did not listen to you and you later discovered that you had cancer all along, you may be able to take legal action against the doctor or the hospital that employs them. A medical malpractice claim could lead to compensation either from the insurance company or from the doctor or hospital involved in your care.
Fighting back when a medical professional’s failure affects your health and future may mean pursuing a medical malpractice insurance claim or lawsuit.