There is nothing more heartbreaking than a young person being diagnosed with cancer. However, illness can strike those of any age.
About 10,450 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014, the American Cancer Society estimates. About 1,350 children younger than age 15 are expected to die from cancer in 2014.
The good news is that about three-fourths of all cancers in children are curable if they are diagnosed early enough and treatment is managed properly.
If your child has a significantly poorer prognosis or has been forced to undergo a harsher cancer treatment regimen as the result of a doctor’s missed diagnosis, call or contact online the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the New York law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP.
Common Cancers in Children
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (after accidents). However, more than 80 percent of children with cancer survive for five years or more.
The most common cancers found in children are:
- Brain cancer and other central nervous system tumors
- Neuroblastoma (cancer of nerve cells in very young children)
- Wilms tumor (a kidney cancer)
- Lymphoma (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)
- Rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles)
- Retinoblastoma (an eye cancer)
- Bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma).
Why Do Missed or Delayed Diagnoses of Cancers in Children Occur?
Some cancers, like leukemia, are easily diagnosed and rarely missed. Others, like brain tumors, can be misdiagnosed in children due in part to the fact that symptoms of brain cancer can be attributed to other childhood maladies such as migraine headaches.
In some cases, childhood cancer is misdiagnosed because young children cannot adequately explain or interpret symptoms. Children are also dependent on their parents recognizing symptoms and taking them seriously. However, in the end, a cancer diagnosis is the doctor’s responsibility.
In England, a survey by the Teenage Cancer Trust (a well-regarded cancer support and advocacy group) found that more than a third of young people visited their general practitioner with cancer symptoms five times before being referred to a specialist.
However, even the Teenage Cancer Trust states on its website, “Please remember that cancer in young people is very rare and [symptoms of cancer] could also be signs of other, everyday illnesses.”
A 2010 study of delayed cancer diagnoses in the U.K. revealed that the most common reason for a delayed diagnosis was that the medical practitioner did not conduct a sufficient medical examination. Other problems included:
- Misattribution of symptoms
- Comorbidity (the presence of two diseases or conditions in a patient).
Sometimes, the hospital / medical center’s procedures cause a delayed diagnosis. The British study cited delays attributed to:
- Waiting for tests
- Waiting for non-urgent referrals to specialists
- Delays in the follow-up to tests.
How Can a Lawyer Help You?
If you believe your doctor or doctors were slow to diagnose your child’s cancer, you may be able to obtain compensation for the harm your child has suffered as well as for your losses and expenses.
A lawsuit cannot eliminate the needless pain and suffering your child has faced. However, the proceeds from a lawsuit can help you to defray the costs of cancer treatment and hold negligent medical personnel accountable. Many parents are comforted by the fact that the evidence uncovered in a delayed cancer diagnosis lawsuit answers many of their lingering questions.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, we pursue delayed cancer diagnosis lawsuits for the families of childhood cancer victims in New York and throughout the U.S. Please contact us today to arrange for a free legal review of your case.
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