Simply put, the sooner you receive a cancer diagnosis the better chance you have of beating the disease.
Unfortunately, receiving a diagnosis while your cancer is still in its infancy is easier said than done. Not only do you have to take steps to obtain the proper medical treatment, but you must then rely on your doctor to order the tests necessary to confirm your illness.
There are many common causes of a delayed cancer diagnosis, including but not limited to:
- Delay in seeking treatment: This falls back on you, the patient. If you’re not feeling well, regardless of the severity, it’s better to be safe than sorry. By seeking medical treatment, you put the ball in your doctor’s court. It’s then up to them to assess your situation, order the proper tests and help you find a specialist who can dig deeper.
- Improper diagnosis: For example, if you’re suffering from stomach pains, your doctor may diagnose you with a more common ailment, such as the flu or an ulcer. This can result in you assuming that your problem will go away with treatment, all the while giving your cancer the time it needs to metastasize.
- Errors assessing test results: These types of errors can occur on many levels. For instance, your medical team may overlook a tumor on a CT scan or MRI. Or perhaps they mistake it for something else. The same can occur with any other type of test, such as lab work and biopsies. If you have reason to believe that your medical team isn’t assessing your test results in the appropriate manner, it’s critical that you seek a second opinion. You have the tests. You just need someone to take a closer look.
Should you find that your medical provider neglected to diagnose your cancer in a timely manner, consult with them about your options. You should also consider a second opinion, as you’ve likely lost trust in your doctor.
As time allows, you can then learn more about your legal rights as they relate to a delayed cancer diagnosis. You may be able to take steps to hold the negligent provider responsible.