Medical Malpractice: The Harm Of A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Updated on March 25, 2022

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnoses are quite prevalent in the medical field. While most go unnoticed and the patient recovers fully, there are situations where a delayed diagnosis can result in much damage to the affected patients.

This is especially true for delayed cancer diagnosis irrespective of the type of cancer. If you have a case of delayed cancer diagnosis, you have a right to sue for medical malpractice against your treating physician. 

This post focuses on the harm of delayed cancer diagnosis and what you can do about it.


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My Doctor Delayed My Cancer Diagnosis; What Are My Options

Doctors are not miracle workers, and seeing one does not guarantee that you will get well. However, once there is a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor owes the duty of care to the patient, which includes offering treatment with a degree of care, skill, and diligence as expected of a reasonable physician under similar circumstances. A doctor may carry liability for a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis if the following circumstances exist:

  • They fail to carry out proper tests
  • They misinterpret test results
  • They perform an incorrect procedure
  • Their machines malfunction leading to a misdiagnosis
  • Mixed up lab results
  • Failure to refer the patient to a specialist
  • They misread X-rays

A cancer misdiagnosis claim has many complications, and there is no way of succeeding without a lawyer. This case is not the kind you can entrust to any lawyer.

It would be best to work with a knowledgeable lawyer specializing in misdiagnosis and delayed diagnoses cases. If you are not sure who to pick for your delayed cancer diagnosis case, you may consider the medical malpractice lawyers at to help pursue the maximum compensation.

The Harm Of Late Cancer Diagnosis

Cancers have five main stages. The stage classification is based on how far cancer has spread. Below is a brief insight into the four stages.

  • Stage one. Stage one cancer has two levels. The first level is when the disease is in its earliest stage and is only limited to the area where it began. The other half of stage one is where the cancer cells have affected the surrounding tissue on a minimal scale.
  • Stage two and three. At stages two and three, cancer has substantially affected the surrounding tissues. In the last phases of stage three, cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes but not to other body parts.
  • Stage four. This is the most advanced cancer stage (metastatic cancer). This stage is the most difficult to treat, with cancer spreading to other body parts.

Most cancers are treatable if diagnosed in the first stages without requiring costly and painful treatment procedures. A delayed diagnosis means that cancer has more time to advance, making treatment procedures more complicated and painful. Also, the chances of beating cancer decline with every stage, with stage four cancer patients having minimal chances of survival.

Recoverable Damages from a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Damages recoverable from a delayed cancer diagnosis are relatively the same as in other injuries and often include economic and non-economic damages. 

  • Economic injuries. Economic injuries in a delayed cancer diagnosis include all costs involved in treating cancer and the cost of medication. However, the cost of treating cancer increases with stage and can vary widely.
  • Non-economic. Advanced cancers usually have a heavy toll on patients in terms of physical pain and psychological pain. Also, it may involve amputations and other life-changing surgeries. A skilled misdiagnosis lawyer can help enumerate these damages for you in monetary terms.

Where there is evidence of gross negligence, the practicing doctors could also pay punitive damages and face criminal charges that could mean losing their practice license. 

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