Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths by far. About 13% of all new cancers are lung cancer. Lung cancer has a very serious prognosis, and for many people, the disease is fatal. However, if lung cancer is detected early, the chances of survival are much greater. If a cancer diagnosis is delayed or missed entirely, this can have a major impact on whether a patient survives the disease. Unfortunately, lung cancer misdiagnosis can be the result of negligence on the part of a medical professional.
Detecting Lung Cancer
In order to properly diagnose cancer, a doctor must look at a patient’s symptoms and medical history and perform the correct diagnostic testing. Symptoms of lung cancer can include coughing, shortness of breath, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), chest pain, reoccurring bronchitis and pneumonia, and hoarseness. If symptoms are present, a physician should follow the appropriate standard of care and order testing to determine if there is cancer. Tests a doctor may order include:
- Imaging tests—tests such as x-rays or CT scan can be used to determine if there is an abnormal mass or small lesions on the lungs
- Sputum cytology—if a patient has a cough that produces sputum, a doctor can look at this sputum under a microscope to determine if there are signs of cancer
- Biopsy—a tissue sample is taken from the lungs to determine whether abnormal cells are lung cancer.
If a doctor fails to adhere to the standard of care and cancer is misdiagnosed, that doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice. Some examples of negligence in lung cancer diagnosis include:
- Failure to take an adequate patient history
- Ignoring patient symptoms or mistaking symptoms for another condition
- Failing to check at-risk patients
- Failure to order the correct diagnostic tests
- Improper administration of diagnostic tests
- Failure to properly read the results of a diagnostic test
Lung cancer is frequently misdiagnosed as COPD, asthma, or even gastric reflux disease. If a doctor is negligent and fails to properly diagnose cancer early on in the disease, the results can be deadly.
Contact a New York Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve been the victim of a medical misdiagnosis, you should have an experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.