In broad terms, tumors fall into two categories: Malignant, or cancerous, and benign, or non-cancerous.
When cancer cells are malignant, they can invade and damage nearby tissue and organs. Cancer cells can also break away from a malignant tumor and enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream. This is how cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
If you or someone you love has suffered unnecessary harm because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of malignant tumors, the experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys at Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you.
We understand how a delay in the diagnosis of your disease can have a devastating effect on your prognosis for long-term survival. We will do all we can to pursue full and fair compensation for you. Contact our law firm for a free consultation.
What Are Malignant Tumors?
Malignant tumors are generally classified as:
- Carcinomas – These cancers originate in the epithelium, or the cells lining an organ such as the lung, breast, stomach, colon or uterus. Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer.
- Sarcoma – These are cancers of connective and supportive tissue such as muscles. Sarcomas can form anywhere in the body. They often form secondary growths in the lungs.
How Are Malignant Tumors Diagnosed?
In some cases, a person who has a tumor detects signs and symptoms. Women who regularly examine their breasts or men who examine their testicles may notice lumps that are tumors. Other cancers have symptoms such as a chronic cough or soreness in the chest from tumors that have formed in the lungs.
Once a person notifies his or her doctor of a suspicious lump or other symptoms, the physician has a number of options for identifying and examining the tumor and making a diagnosis. These options include:
- Biopsy – Removal of tissue from the tumor and a microscopic examination of its cells
- Ultrasound – High-frequency, reflected sound waves that are used to differentiate various kinds of tissue
- Computed tomography (CT) – X-rays that produce a cross-sectional picture of body parts
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Magnetic fields and radio waves that show changes in soft tissues.
Once the lab or imaging test is done, a lab technician or a radiologist trained to read test results will report the findings to the physician in charge of the case.
Why Does Missed or Delayed Diagnosis of a Malignant Tumor Occur?
If the existence of a malignant tumor is not correctly diagnosed, it may be a matter of miscommunication. A radiologist or technician may have reported results of tests incorrectly, or the results may have been misread by the physician. There are also cases of X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or biopsies being “mixed up,” or labeled with the wrong patient’s name.
In some cases, reports or lab samples are simply lost, which results in a delayed diagnosis as the diagnostic test must be repeated.
Another problem seen in busy hospital settings is that an examining physician or physician’s assistant fails to order diagnostic tests that would reveal the existence of a malignant tumor. A doctor may not perform a thorough exam and miss symptoms that would indicate the need for testing.
On occasion, a delayed or missed diagnosis is caused by a physician’s incompetence. The doctor may lack training or have other issues such as a substance abuse problem.
What Are the Consequences of a Missed or Delayed Diagnosis of a Malignant Tumor?
Malignant tumors contain active cancer cells that spread (metastasize) and cause damage to tissue, organs, lymphatic system and/or the bloodstream. The best way to treat cancer is to catch it early – before it becomes widespread or has done irreparable harm.
Different cancers have different survival rates, usually expressed as five-year survival rates. In all cases, the survival rate is higher the sooner the cancer is diagnosed. For example:
Breast cancer – The five-year survival rates are:
- Localized (confined to a single site) – 98.5 percent
- Regional (spread to adjacent lymph nodes) – 84.6 percent
- Distant (metastasized) – 25 percent.
Lung cancer – The five-year survival rates are:
- Localized – 54 percent
- Regional – 26.5 percent
- Distant – 4 percent.
Pancreatic cancer – The five-year survival rates are:
- Localized — 25.8 percent
- Regional – 9.9 percent
- Distant – 2.3 percent.
In short, time is of the essence when battling cancer. A missed or delayed diagnosis of a malignant tumor wastes valuable time that a cancer patient may need in order to survive.
Get Help from a Delayed Malignant Tumor Diagnosis Attorney
The New York law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, can help if you or a loved one has been harmed by what you suspect was a delayed or missed diagnosis of a malignant tumor. You may be eligible to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and more if a doctor or other medical providers were negligent in their treatment.
Contact us today by phone or online for a free and confidential initial consultation about your case and an explanation of your rights and legal options.
Sources / More Information