With today’s technology, individuals often fear the worst when they enter their doctor’s office for an office prognosis of their symptoms. Common colds and arthritis aside, each individual knows their body better than anyone else, and when something is wrong, you want to get to the bottom of it.
Certainly learning that you may have cancer as a result of your symptoms and technological testing can change your life going forward. Early detection, as they say, is the key to survival, but what if you are not diagnosed at all? Imagine having cancer, and the ability to identify it accurately to get a jumpstart on beating the disease, and being told you have nothing more than the flu?
The signs and symptoms of cancer can certainly be connected to differing illnesses, especially in the early stages of the disease. However, some signs can point to specific types of cancer, leading physicians to a definitive diagnosis.
With everything the world knows about cancer, and the leaps and bounds made in its overall treatment, it would be safe to assume that if you have the disease it can be diagnosed and treated accordingly to maximize your quality of life, right? Unfortunately, the attorneys at Benson, Bertoldo, Baker & Carter are all too familiar with cancer misdiagnosis cases, and because of such negligence in medical practice, we devote our legal resources to holding those who missed such an important diagnosis responsible for their superior oversight in the care of others.
Diagnostic tests and exams make a definitive diagnosis easier to procure, leading to increased survival rates among cancer patients throughout the United States. These diagnostic procedures and tools can include, but are not limited to:
- Extensive Physical Exams
- Diagnostic Radiological Exams, including CT scans, MRIs and X-rays
- Laboratory Tests
These tests are not only used to diagnose a cancerous existence in individuals, but also to rule out cancer as a potential cause of certain signs and symptoms that are affecting the health of the patient at hand.
Misdiagnosis can be defined as a failure to diagnose the disease, which allows it to manifest throughout the body, making it harder to combat. This is the result of the physician ruling out cancer — or simply not considering it as a source of the illness. Misdiagnosis may also mean misidentifying cancer as a completely different disease, and treating that particular disease instead of the cancer that is expanding within the patient.
The American Cancer Society lists the following as an outline, or general evidence of the existence of cancer causing grounds for medical investigation. Keep in mind, none of these single symptoms signifies the presence of cancer alone, but should prompt a visit to your physician for a proper medical evaluation.
- Darkening or Yellowing of the Skin, including Red, Itchy Patches or Excessive Hair Growth
- Extreme Fatigue that Does Not Improve with Rest
- Unexplained Fever
- Unexplained Weight Loss
More Specific Clues
Just as the general clues do not signify cancer as sole causes of the symptoms, the following may signal the presence of cancer, but other tests and follow-up exams are necessary to confirm its actual existence:
- Change in Bladder Function, or Bowel Habits
- Sores that Will Not Heal
- White Spots on the Tongue and/or White Patches in the Mouth
- Unusual Discharge or Bleeding
- Thickening Lump in the Breast or Elsewhere on the Body
- Indigestion or Trouble Swallowing
- A Wart, Mole or Freckle than Changes Size, Shape or Color; or Whose Border becomes Fuzzy Where it Was Once Defined
- Continuing Cough or Hoarseness
Early detection is the key to treating cancer successfully. When you or a loved one suffered from a cancer misdiagnosis, precious time is wasted focusing on a phantom illness when you could have been treating the deadly disease at the most critical time.