Are You The Victim Of Misdiagnosis of Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that is found in the main organs of the chest that are responsible for respirations and breath, and are known as the lungs.
The lungs are unique in their design and have areas known as lobes. The left lung has two lobes allowing for an area of room for the heart, and the right lung is comprised of three lobes. When you inhale to take a breath, the air goes in through your nose, travels down your windpipe, also known as the trachea, and then enters the lungs where it spreads through tubes called the bronchi. Most types of lung cancer first appear in the cells that make up the bronchi.
There are two main forms of the disease known as lung cancer: non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which is the most commonly noted form of the disease; and small cell lung cancer, which makes up about twenty percent of all cases. If a patient is diagnosed with lung cancer that consists of both types listed above it is referred to as mixed small cell/large cell lung cancer. When the cancer has spread to the lungs from another location in the body it is known as metastatic lung cancer.
Lung cancer is considered to be one of the most deadly forms of cancer for women and for men alike. Every year, more people die of lung cancer than several other forms of cancer combined including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Lung cancer is more common in adults who are older, and are generally over the age of forty five. The disease is quite rarely found in younger individuals. As most people know, the main cause of lung cancer has been linked to cigarette smoking. The more a person smokes, and the earlier the person starts smoking, the greater the chances of developing this disease. There has been no clinical proof that has found switching to low tar cigarettes lowers a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer. That being said, lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked a cigarette in their lives.
Breathing the smoke from people who do smoke, commonly known as secondhand smoke, is also a risk factor for elevated chances of developing lung cancer. It is estimated that as many as three thousand non smoking adults die each year from lung cancer just because they regularly breathed smoke of a secondhand nature.
Other factors that increase the risk of someone developing the disease of lung cancer include:
• Exposure to asbestos;
• Exposure to radon gas;
• Radiation therapy that has been applied to the lungs;
• High levels of arsenic in the drinking water;
• Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals such as beryllium, nickel chromates, mustard gas, uranium, vinyl chloride, gasoline, diesel exhaust, chloromethyl esters, and coal products;
• High amounts of inhaled pollution in the air;
• A family history of lung cancer.
Symptoms of lung cancer can vary somewhat from patient to patient but often include the following: coughing, difficulty breathing, dull aches, hoarse voice, chronic chest infections, a loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, difficulty swallowing, sharp pains, extreme lethargy or fatigue.
People who develop any of these symptoms should seek prompt medical attention and request a chest x-ray to find out what is causing the problem. If a medical professional does not act in the earliest stages, medical negligence may have taken place, and could lead to a complete misdiagnosis or a delay in treatment. In the event the check x-ray does come back suspicious, the patient should be referred to a specialist for more in depth scans, examinations, and if necessary, treatments. Appropriate treatments often include chemotherapy, surgery, radiofrequency ablation, radiotherapy, and cancer growth inhibitors. Other treatments that may be ordered but are not as commonly used include cryosurgery, antiangiogenesis drugs, diathermy, and photodynamic therapy.
Once treatment has been carried out, the doctor should take ample time to review the results, and to schedule follow up appointments that include chest x-rays to ensure the cancer is gone. The doctor should also continue to monitor the patient for any new signs of a recurrence of the cancer. If this happens, treatment will need to resume, and should be administered promptly.
The sooner a proper diagnosis is made, the better the chances for a complete recovery. Unfortunately, there are times when a doctor or other medical professional dismiss a patient’s symptoms as something less severe, or far less serious in nature. Sometimes lung cancer is diagnosed as nothing more than a case of bronchitis, or a respiratory infection. The patient is then treated for these conditions, and as time progresses, the cancer spreads. By the time the doctor realizes that the treatment is not the right one, and orders more in depth testing, the cancer may have spread to a point that it cannot be properly treated, and may have fatal consequences. When this happens, a form of medical negligence has occurred, and should be taken very seriously.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a misdiagnosis of lung cancer, you should contact a medical negligence attorney or personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These professionals are quite skilled with handling these types of cases, and know the ins and outs of this area of the law like no other. In the event that you have lost a loved one because of a delay in treatment or a misdiagnosis, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf and recoup damages for the loss of life, for medical bills, and for the lost earning potential.
While a medical negligence attorney or personal injury attorney cannot undo the damage that has been done, and they cannot bring back a loved one who has been lost, they can help you to recover some compensation to help you start to repair the broken pieces of your life. Medical professionals owe their patients a reasonable duty of care, and when that has been breached, action must be taken.