When a person hears the word “cancer” an automatic sense of fear takes over that person. Cancer is known to kill thousands of people every year. The saddest part is knowing that the cancer patient could have been saved had they been treated earlier or had their cancer been detected beforehand. Cancer is a ticking bomb. If not treated as soon as possible, a person can face fatal consequences, especially with aggressive cancers like melanoma.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, although one of the rarest(2% of skin cancers), it is the deadliest. Misdiagnosing this type of cancer is not only a grave mistake, but it is an error that can take an innocent life away. When a physician does not place his or her utmost attention to their patient’s specific symptoms and concerns, misdiagnosis can happen, especially when the symptoms are similar to another medical condition. Along with melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell are two other types of skin cancer that occur more often than melanoma.
Skin cancer has certain characteristics that may distinguish it from other conditions like moles. Moles are usually a sign of something not being quite right. When a mole is dismissed as being something normal and no biopsies are taken, this is when misdiagnosis occurs. Unfortunately, this happens every year; doctors dismiss a mole as something “normal”. When something abnormal surfaces on the skin, the physicians should take the necessary precautions and order the necessary tests.
Due to a physician’s mistake, family members can be left suffering because of the doctor’s negligence and lack of standard of care. A victim of a misdiagnosed skin cancer needs to seek the help of a knowledgeable Miami Misdiagnosed Skin Cancer Lawyer.
Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms
The most common type of mistake is when a physician confuses some symptoms of skin cancer for another medical condition. Skin cancer typically displays the following signs and symptoms:
- When dark freckles surface with a large brown spot (sign for concern)
- When a person experiences changes in a pre-existing mole like its color, size, or texture
- When a person develops different colored lesions like red, black, white, or blue oddly shaped
- When dark-colored lesions surface around the feet, toes, fingers, and palms
- When a person experiences lesions in the vagina, nose, anus, or inside of their mouth
Often time, these symptoms will be confused for liver spots or blue nevus.
Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis Reasons
How can someone get misdiagnosed? Aren’t doctors supposed to know everything? Didn’t they study for that? The only answer that can be given to these questions is: doctors are human. A doctor is supposed to provide care to a patient at the best of their ability just like another similar doctor would have in the same situation. Mistakes happen in the medical field on a daily basis, some of which can ruin a person’s life, and potentially kill them like a misdiagnosis.
Skin cancer, like any cancer, is a disease that needs to be treated immediately and one of the most common cancers in the United States. Although skin cancer is highly treatable and a person’s 5-year survival rate is extremely positive, late treatment provides low chances of survival. These are some of the following reasons why skin cancer would be misdiagnosed:
Similar to other medical conditions
This is typically the most common reason why skin cancer is misdiagnosed. A doctor usually sees a mole as something normal and does not provide further testing for the abnormality. When proper testing is not done, then a person will most likely not figure out that they have skin cancer until it is already too late, especially if they have melanoma.
Not viewing patient’s family history of skin cancer
Cancer tends to be hereditary. When a physician does not view a patient’s family medical history, the option of developing cancer can slip their minds. When a person has a family history of cancer, they should be screened for it and any signs or symptoms that they develop are should be taken more seriously.
Errors in the tissue samples
Lab mix-ups can happen. A lab tech may unknowingly confuse a patient’s tissue sample for another person’s tissue sample and return the results to the physician as the person being perfectly healthy when in fact they have cancer. Along with the lab tech, the physician who extracts the sample can also mix-up the sample, or write the incorrect name on it.
Skin Cancer Statistics
Skin cancer is a type of cancer that surfaces the most throughout the United States. Here is some data about skin cancer provided by the American Academy of Dermatology:
- In 2015, 5.4 million people were diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell cancer
- In 2015, 9,940 people were diagnosed with melanoma
- There is about 9,500 that are diagnosed with some type of skin cancer on a daily basis
- In a person’s lifetime, one out of five Americans will develop skin cancer
- In 2017, it has been predicted that 161,790 cases of melanoma cancer will be diagnosed
- Caucasian men over the age of 50 will develop melanoma cancer more often than other populations
- Females between the age of 15-29 have melanoma placed as the second most common form of cancer they develop
Skin Cancer Malpractice Verdicts
Misdiagnosis of Melanoma Cancer
In 2015, a male had his melanoma cancer misdiagnosed by a physician at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The doctor interpreted his biopsy as a non-cancerous mole. The male patient was deprived of his chances to fight the melanoma cancer because the doctor did not provide the adequate standard of care and failed to see that the biopsies that were taken were in fact results of desmoplastic melanoma. The male was awarded $3,706 million in the state of New York.
In 2013, the family of a melanoma cancer victim was awarded $9,329,600 in the state of Colorado after an adult female died a year later after noticing lesions on her heel. The female did not have any biopsies done, was not referred to a specialist in time, and was not guided through on what to do. Her primary care physician allowed her to be with these lesions for over a year before performing any biopsies on the lesions. The melanoma spread to her lymph nodes in her pelvis and caused her death in the year 2012.
Miami Misdiagnosed Skin Cancer Lawyers
Learning that a person has cancer can be devastating, but when a person finds out that their cancer was misdiagnosed and could have been treated earlier had the medical professional been more persistent with their case, is just heartbreaking. The irony is that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, yet it is a form of cancer that is the most misdiagnosed. The Skin cancer misdiagnosis legal practitioners at Percy Martinez Law Firm are dazzled every day by the number of patients that contact them with a skin cancer misdiagnosis.
The firm believes in justice, and justice needs to be served for the medical professionals who were negligent and caused extensive damage to their patient. A person’s life and health come before anything. Without health, there is nothing left.
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