When lung cancer is advanced, it can be deadly. While many types and forms of lung cancer are treatable, catching lung cancer early on is one of the key aspects of mitigating the risk of death.
Unfortunately, lung cancer may be missed by healthcare professionals, leading to a delayed diagnosis. When this happens to you, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is in your best interest.
Here are some facts about lung cancer that you should stay aware of, including what to do if you are the victim of a lung cancer delayed diagnosis.
Facts About Lung Cancer
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), lung cancer is a leading killer of both men and women. It has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, the ALA states.
Lung cancer is so prevalent, in fact, that annually it takes more lives than colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In the year 2015, it is estimated that more than 158,000 Americans will die from lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Early detection of lung cancer is important. One of the ways that you can increase your chances of detecting lung cancer early is by recognizing lung cancer’s signs and symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, these signs and symptoms include (but are not be limited to):
- A cough that will not cease or worsens over time
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Increased rate of bronchial infections
- Bone pain
- Headaches and other changes to the nervous system
- Inflamed lymph nodes.
The latter five symptoms usually occur in the event that the lung cancer has spread to other organs in the body. In other words, these symptoms are most common when the cancer is advanced.
Who Is Most at Risk of Developing Lung Cancer?
Certain risk factors are more highly associated with the development of lung cancer. Some risk factors such as whether a person smokes cigarettes can be avoided. However, many other risk factors cannot be avoided.
The most serious risk factor for developing lung cancer is smoking. In fact, at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are amongst smokers or those who previously were smokers, the ACS states.
The risk of developing lung cancer associated with smoking is not just limited to cigarettes. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking also increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
In fact, smoking is so serious that even exposure to second-hand smoke increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
Exposure to other chemicals can also increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. This includes exposure to radon, uranium, diesel exhaust, arsenic, cadmium, asbestos and more. Even the chemicals found in basic air pollution, which everyone faces, to some extent, on a daily basis can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
A family history of lung cancer also increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.
The ACS states that taking certain dietary supplements can also increase lung cancer risk. Talc, talcum powder and smoking marijuana have shown to be related to lung cancer risk, but causation has not been proven.
Treatment for Lung Cancer
The type of lung cancer treatment that an affected person will undergo is dependent upon the type and the severity of lung cancer from which he or she is suffering. Treatment for non-small cell lung cancer treatment, according to LungCancer.org, may include:
- Targeted treatments.
Treatment for small cell lung cancer, on the other hand, is generally limited to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. While these treatments often are effective at combating lung cancer, they are not without risks and side effects – many of which are uncomfortable or even debilitating.
What Should I Do if I Receive a Lung Cancer Delayed Diagnosis?
Lung cancer is a very serious disease. When not diagnosed and treated quickly and properly, lung cancer can quickly spread throughout the lungs and other organs, proliferating at a rate that may be fatal for the affected patient.
When lung cancer progresses as a direct result of a missed or delayed diagnosis that could have been caught had proper medical care been given, the affected patient may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The victim must prove that the healthcare provider negligently failed to take the proper steps necessary to diagnose the lung cancer.
Also, in order to recover damages, the patient must prove that the negligence was the direct cause of his or her harm such as the advancement of the lung cancer. Types of physician negligence that may lead to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis include:
- Failure to check patient’s medical records thoroughly
- Recording patient information incorrectly
- Not ordering specific tests, lab work
- Misreading/misinterpreting patient tests
- Not referring a patient to a specialist
- Doing anything else that is outside of the ordinary standard of care a physician is obligated to operate within.
Contact an Albany Lung Cancer Delayed Diagnosis Attorney
If you are the victim of a delayed lung cancer diagnosis or lung cancer misdiagnosis, do not delay contacting the Albany medical malpractice lawyers at Powers & Santola, LLP. We want to help you and your family to seek answers about what happened in your case. We can also help you to pursue the compensation you are due. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.