Failure to Use These Standard Tests for Common Cancers Could Be Medical Malpractice
We all know how important it is to catch cancer early in order to have a hope of curing or controlling it. Even if we are responsible and see our primary doctor regularly, we must rely on him to advise us when the best time is to begin screening for common cancers. Many of these early detection tests are inexpensive and commonly utilized. What happens if your doctor fails to order one of these tests? If you are later diagnosed with cancer, you could have a medical malpractice claim against your doctor.
Did Your Doctor Fail to Order One of These Cancer Screening Tests?
Early screening for cancer not only results in a greater chance of a person being cured but also in him receiving milder and more effective types of treatment. Failing to do so can result in devastating consequences for a patient who may have a fast-growing cancer that could require aggressive chemotherapy treatments and his life could be shortened significantly.
Your doctor could commit medical malpractice if he fails to follow the standards of practice for screening for common cancers or fails to inform you of the availability of these tests. When you need to begin testing could be determined in part by whether you are experiencing any symptoms or whether you have a family history of developing a particular cancer. The failure to perform these cancer screening tests could amount to malpractice:
- Colon cancer. People who are at average risk of developing colon cancer should have a colonoscopy or other screening test done starting at 50 years old and repeating every 10 years if no polyps or cancer are found. If polyps are found, the frequency of colonoscopies would depend on their size, but generally every 3-5 years. People with prior colon cancer or a strong family history of it will require screening to begin prior to 50 years old.
- Breast cancer. The standard of practice for breast cancer screening has been changing. Generally a woman should receive breast exams at her annual doctor appointment starting in her 20s. If she is at low risk for developing breast cancer, she probably will not need to start mammograms until she is 40 years old. Women who had breast cancer or who have a strong family history should begin having mammograms sometime in their 30s. Other tests like blood tests and screening for ovarian cancer could be recommended too.
- Prostate cancer. There is considerable debate among physicians as to the need for routine screening given the slow growth of the cancer and the fact that the treatment could do more harm to the patient. A discussion of the pros and cons of early screening should occur when a man reaches 40 years old. Screening includes a rectal exam and a blood test to check the PSA (prostate specific antigen) level.
- Lung cancer. Lung cancer screening is only required if a patient is at high risk of getting lung cancer. Risk factors include heavy smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, radon, or other chemicals through employment, having had other cancers, and a family history of lung cancer. A CT scan is the standard method of screening.
Your doctor has a duty to know of and use standard cancer screening tools and inform you of what tests are available. If he failed to do so and you develop cancer, you need to act quickly to not miss the statute of limitations to sue for the compensation you could be entitled to. Call me at 888.716.8021 for a free consultation to learn how I can assist you.