Did you know that lung cancer can be misdiagnosed as acid reflux? This startling fact shows just how easy it is for doctors to miss a serious medical condition such as cancer. Below, we will take a look at what lung cancer is, how it is misdiagnosed and how an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you file a claim for compensation.
What is Lung Cancer?
Cancer itself is when the cells in someone’s body grow uncontrollably. As such, lung cancer is when this rapid cell growth starts in a person’s lungs. There are two main types of lung cancer – small cell and non-small cell, which are treated significantly different from one another. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, affecting about 80 to 85 percent of all lung cancer patients. This type of lung cancer is most common in smokers and non-smokers alike; it is also more prevalent in women and the younger people. Those who are not diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer may have small cell cancer. This type of lung cancer affects a small percentage of people – approximately 10 to 15 percent and is sometimes referred to as oat cell cancer because the cells often look like grains of oat when viewed under a microscope. Small cell lung cancer starts in the bronchi and quickly spreads to other areas such as the lymph nodes. According to the American Cancer Society, about 70 percent of all small cell lung cancer cases will have already spread by the time the patient learns about their diagnosis.
Warning Signs of Lung Cancer
There are warning signs of lung cancer, even if in its earliest stages. While symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common signs of lung cancer include the following:
- A lingering and persistent cough
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling unusually tired or weak
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain associated with coughing, laughing or deep breathing
- Infections such as pneumonia that keep coming back
In cases where lung cancer is diagnosed after it’s already spread to other parts of the body, patients may experience:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Weakness or numbness in the arm of leg
- Bone pain in the back or hips
- Jaundice (if cancer spread to the liver)
Cancers are categorized by stages which help determine the appropriate treatment and survival rate. As such, the sooner lung cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be.
How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?
If someone is presenting any of the symptoms listed above, they should seek medical attention right away. In most cases, a physician will order an X-ray of your lungs to determine any abnormal masses. Your doctor may also order a CT scan which can help reveal small lesions in your lungs that may otherwise be too small to be detected on the X-ray. While these tests are vital to detecting lung cancer, they are also not infallible. Lung cancer is the second most commonly missed diagnosis resulting from a radiology error. These are often the result of observer error, technical inaccuracies and missing specific characterizations of undetected lesion sizes and locations. A mischaracterization of a lesion size or location may cause the patient to be treated for the wrong stage.
Furthermore, medical professionals may fail to take a patient’s medical history or fail to refer them to a specialist or for a chest X-ray when they first present symptoms. The attorneys at Matzus Law LLC are able to help you determine whether or not your doctor or treating physician was negligent in your care.
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Pennsylvania residents have two years to file a medical malpractice claim. While some injuries may be evident early on, that is not always the case. As such, the statute of limitations begins when the patient knew or should have reasonably known about the injury. While two years sounds like a long time, it goes by in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, once this window closes, so does your opportunity to seek justice and compensation.
At Matzus Law LLC, we understand that a cancer diagnosis can severely impact your physical and emotional well-being. If you believe that your lung cancer was misdiagnosed or discovered late, you and your family have a right to compensation. We have handled numerous medical malpractice cases and secured compensation for our clients. We’re ready to help.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to a lung cancer misdiagnosis in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh delayed diagnosis attorneys at Matzus Law LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Butler, Cranberry, Greensburg and Washington. Call us today at 412-206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 3210, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.