Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis: Oregon Medical Malpractice

Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Caused by Oregon Medical Malpractice


According to statistics, each year in the United States there are about 230,000 new cases of lung cancer every year, and about 150,000 deaths from lung cancer.   Lung cancer and bronchial cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, more than colon cancer, rectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined.  This means that it is imperative that lung cancer is quickly and timely diagnosed, aggressively treated, and patients are properly cared for.  A delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of lung cancer is likely to be a death sentence.


But that does not always happen.  Despite being so common, many lung cancer cases are misdiagnosed or delayed in diagnosis.  This is particularly true in non-smokers, as smoking is the largest cause of lung cancer.  Second-hand smoke, asbestos, radon gas in the home, and other causes are generally “silent” killers and causes of lung cancer which may be harder for doctors to predict and guard against.  However, this does not mean that doctors are allowed to neglect these patients or get a “free” instance of Oregon medical malpractice.


Understanding Lung Cancer 


What makes lung cancer so devastating is that it is very likely to spread and usually spreads to areas that are hard to cure or repair such as the brain or lymph nodes.  But not every type of lung cancer can spread.  There are several forms of lung cancer to know.


Small cell lung cancer accounts for about 10% to 15% of all cancers, but it spreads very aggressively and usually in the early stages even before detection can be made.  Non-small cell lung cancer makes up about 80% to 85% of all lung cancers, and this type spreads normally like other cancers—generally in the later stages.  A lung carcinoid tumor is a very rare form of lung cancer making up the remaining 5% or so of lung cancers.  This type is very slow-growing, usually very detectible, and it is very unlikely to spread beyond the lungs.


Why Lung Cancer is Misdiagnosed 


Lung cancer is misdiagnosed for several reasons.  This is most common in non-smokers, as the general symptoms of lung cancer are dismissed in non-smokers for something else like pneumonia.  Causes of lung cancer misdiagnosis due to Oregon medical malpractice include the following:


  • Failing to perform tests to rule-out lung cancer;
  • Failing to order imaging tests;
  • Failures by primary care physicians to refer to a specialist;
  • Improperly interpreting tests and imaging studies;
  • Incorrectly performing tests and imaging studies;
  • Ignoring signs and symptoms of lung cancer;
  • Improper training;
  • Negligent hiring;
  • Rushing or failing to take the proper time to perform the tests or patient evaluation;
  • Taking too conservative of an approach;
  • Misdiagnosing the stage of cancer and not rushing for treatment; and
  • Other causes.


Delays and misdiagnosing lung cancer is very devastating because even at only stage 2, the prognosis is at best about 49%.  Since there are four stages in classifying cancers, one being the first and four being the last and least survivable, most cancers have a higher survival rate the lower the stage.  But lung cancer tends to have a less than 50% chance at even the second stage.  Thus, any delay by healthcare providers in failing to identify and treat lung cancer will increase mortality rate.


Oregon Medical Malpractice Causing Cancer Misdiagnosis


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