Receiving a diagnosis for a serious cancer, such as breast cancer, is never what you want to experience at the doctor's office. You hope that your concerns are not the result of anything serious. However, failing to get a diagnosis that accurately reflects your condition could have a profound impact on your prognosis.
Women who go to the doctor presenting symptoms that could indicate breast cancer expect their doctor to take these concerns seriously. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
Doctors can ignore or overlook important symptoms when diagnosing a patient. This can mean a delay in diagnosis, which can make the situation much worse for the patient. For women who have experienced a delayed diagnosis because of medical inaction, it may be time to consider your legal rights to bring a claim of medical malpractice against the doctor.
Cancer is easiest to treat in its earliest stages
Cancer gets progressively worse over time. In fact, many people don't realize they have cancer until the symptoms become difficult to ignore. With breast cancer, lumps in the breast or underarm tissue are often an early warning sign.
Sometimes, it may take weeks or months to detect a lump that results from cancer. This may mean that you are already in stage 2 or stage 3 of cancer development by the time you seek a diagnosis. It is critical that your doctor takes your concerns seriously and takes action to review your symptoms.
The sooner you get a diagnosis of cancer, the better your overall prognosis will be. Cancers typically respond better to treatment in earlier stages. With an early diagnosis of breast cancer, you may be able to avoid systemic chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As cancer progresses, it spreads to other parts of the body and becomes more difficult to remove and treat. That means more difficult and invasive treatments.
When doctors fail to diagnose, patients suffer the consequences
You place a lot of trust in your doctor. After all, their position is one that demands respect. They have attended many years of specialized school and, theoretically, understand how the human body works.
You expect them to utilize that knowledge in your favor by diagnosing your condition and helping you treat it. A doctor who fails to take proper diagnostic steps when someone reports potential symptoms of breast cancer leaves that person vulnerable to worsening symptoms and a bad prognosis.
If your doctor failed to properly diagnose you when you presented early symptoms of breast cancer, you may be in a position to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. The compensation you receive, if successful, can offset the additional cost of care for more advanced cancers and help your family recover from the financial impact of your extended illness.