Cancer misdiagnosis is a serious problem because early detection is a key component for many cancer treatment plans. The early warning signs of cancer are widely known to many medical professionals and are publicized by organizations such as the American Cancer Society. The early detection of cancer usually improves the chances that it will be cured and doctors who fail to diagnose cancer may sentence their patients to death from what would otherwise be a curable cancer.

In our last post we discussed the dramatic case of a nose doctor who was accused of failing to diagnose a woman’s cancer while treating her for other ailments. The family in that case was awarded $13 million and hundreds of other lawsuits are pending against that doctor. The nose doctor represents an extreme case of criminal activity and medical malpractice and less egregious conduct is more common.

Another lawsuit was filed against a doctor who allegedly misdiagnosed a cyst which allowed cancer to spread throughout a patient’s body. The patient’s lawsuit states that the man went to a hospital to have a lump on the side of his neck removed and that the lump was sent for analysis. Testing of lumps and cysts is routine because these could be signs of cancer. Unfortunately a doctor failed to diagnose the cancer that was working through the man’s body and determined that the lump was only an infected cyst.

The patient was initially relieved that the lump was only a cyst, but this relief turned to horror when the lump returned and was diagnosed as cancer. At this point the cancer had progressed and inflected his tongue and lymph nodes. The patient seeks $300,000 in damages related to medical expenses and court costs.

Source: Madison Record, “Doctor misdiagnosed cyst, lawsuit claims,” Andrea Dearden, July 26, 2011