When a suspicious lesion appears on an imaging study of the lung (X-Ray or CT Scan typically), the obvious concern is for lung cancer and the only way to exclude or confirm a cancer diagnosis is through a biopsy. A biopsy is indeed the “gold standard” when it comes to determining the true character of a lung mass. If the lesion is clearly a “new finding” and is suspicious for cancer based upon the appearance on an imaging study, a biopsy is required.
A biopsy is a surgical procedure during which a tissue sample is taken from the suspicious growth and examined microscopically to identify the type and characteristic of the cells within the tissue sample. Biopsies are routinely performed and generally simple and safe procedures that take only a few minutes. The time and effort is well spent given the risk of not detecting an underlying cancer and allowing the cancer to spread depriving the patient of an opportunity for cure and often times resulting in the patient’s death. Failing to biopsy a suspicious lung mass often times proves to be a fatal mistake for the patient.
Like all cancers, the primary goal is to catch the cancer as early as possible to give the patient the best opportunity for a cure and chance of survival. For example, according to the International Staging System for lung cancer, a patient whose cancer is detected at Stage I has a cure rate of approximately 70% with appropriate treatment. Denying patients this opportunity by delaying diagnosing their cancer is devastating for the patient and their families.
Typically, in a delay in diagnosing cancer malpractice case, you have a patient who had a disease stage that was quite curable if it was diagnosed timely but who, as a result of the delay in diagnosing the cancer has little to no chance of survival.
If you or a family member have been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and think that there was a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosing the cancer, please contact our experienced lung cancer malpractice lawyer at Matzus Law to get the answers you deserve to the important questions you have.