Delayed diagnoses for cancer can make a major difference

Most people would do anything they can to avoid a diagnosis of cancer. After all, cancer often means that you will undergo invasive therapies and/or surgeries. Radiation and chemotherapy, in particular, can leave patients feeling much more ill than they did before their diagnoses. This knowledge can leave patients dreading hearing the "C" word from their doctors.

However, accurate and timely diagnoses are critical to the potential for recovery for most patients. Cancer is much more treatable than it used to be, but early diagnosis and treatment are imperative for positive outcomes. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, that can make all the difference for the available treatment options and patient prognoses.

Cancer treatments have improved drastically

There was a time not so long ago that most forms of cancer were deadly. Even two decades ago, cancer survival rates were significantly lower than they are today. Thankfully, major advances in medical procedures have made it possible for doctors to aggressively treat cancer and help patients reach remission. New chemotherapy drugs, advanced surgical procedures and even gene therapy have aided in patients' battles with aggressive forms of cancer.

In order for patients to benefit from the improved medical technologies and other cancer-fighting tools, they have to have accurate diagnoses from their doctors. When a doctor overlooks major symptoms for any reason, the patient may be the one who ends up suffering. By the time the right diagnosis is found, it may be too late in the progression of the disease for the patient to beat the cancer.

Doctors who fail to diagnose should be held accountable

Most people place a lot of trust in their doctors and treat these medical professionals with real respect. After all, doctors have gone through years of education and training in hospital settings in order to properly identify and diagnose the medical conditions of their patients. Physicians' knowledge helps ensure that patients receive the treatment that they need. Sadly, some doctors fail in this most basic and critical aspect of their jobs.

For cancer patients whose doctors did not properly diagnose or investigate symptoms, the results of those failures could literally be life or death. Instead of simply needing a short chemotherapy regiment or a single surgery, patients may require much more painful and debilitating treatments. In some cases, delays can mean the difference between survival and fatal outcomes.

While doctors are humans, their failures can have profound and lasting effects on those who trust them with their lives. If you or a loved one did not receive a timely diagnosis for a serious cancer, it may be time to explore the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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