In the modern world of healthcare, serious illnesses and conditions that once held an extremely high mortality rate are now far more treatable. The rapid advancement in medical technology and ongoing research and development in many fields of medicine has led to a situation where life-threatening diseases and disorders now have improved outcomes for many patients. Many forms of cancer are now highly treatable, especially if they are diagnosed at an early stage in the development of the cancerous cells. Whilst some forms of cancer (most notably advanced lung cancer and pancreatic cancers) still have a poor prognosis for many patients, the disease is far more treatable than it once was. In this article, a brief discussion on some of the ways in which cancer is diagnosed will take place, followed by treatment options for confirmed cancer patients and information on help that is available to patients if a misdiagnosis has occurred.
One of the most common ways for a doctor to diagnose cancer in a patient is by conducting a physical exam of the patient’s body. The doctor will be looking for signs of tumours, which may appear as lumps on or under the skin. He or she will also be looking for any abnormalities in the body during this examination, such as a change in skin pigmentation or evidence that one of the body’s organs is abnormally large. Your doctor may also request that you give blood or urine samples. These will be sent to a medical laboratory and tests will be conducted to indicate if there is a presence of cancer in the body. In some circumstances, a tissue sample will also be taken from the patient’s body and sent for laboratory testing. This is commonly known as a biopsy.
If the physical exam and/or laboratory tests indicate that the patient has cancer, a formal diagnosis will be given. At this point, the patient will be offered a range of treatment options based on the specific type of cancer, how far progressed the growth is, and various other factors, such as the age of the patient and their relative fitness. There are two common types of treatment for a wide range of specific cancers. Radiotherapy can be used to target cancer cells by using a form of radiation that is directed at the site of the growth. In some cases, chemotherapy is recommended, and the patient may be injected with powerful chemicals that are effective in killing fast-growing cancerous cells.
If Misdiagnosis Occurs
It is an unfortunate fact that in some circumstances a medical professional may give an incorrect diagnosis of cancer or may not spot the disease during an examination. Whilst this is quite rare, it does occasionally happen. If it does, and it can be proven that a misdiagnosis has led to medical complications, serious injury, or death, then it may be wise to contact a cancer misdiagnosis attorney who will be able to ascertain if the healthcare provider is liable for legal action. In these cases, the patient or relative of the patient may be entitled to financial compensation, if it can be proved that misdiagnosis has occurred.