In Boston when a person goes to see their doctor with a health concern, one of the worst case scenarios is to be told they have cancer. While it might be a relief when they’re told there’s nothing to worry about, there are times when the doctor is mistaken and the patient is at risk for worsened condition due to a missed diagnosis of cancer. Delayed treatment can be the difference between a longer life and a premature death.

A 46-year-old woman died after her breast cancer was misdiagnosed as tennis elbow. For two years, the woman went about her life not realizing that she had cancer. The failure to diagnose cancer deprived her of two years in which she could have sought treatment. The woman had been suffering from pain in her arms, but her doctor called it a strain. Later, she found a lump in her breast. Since the disease went undetected when she’d gone to the doctor years earlier, by the time she received her diagnosis, there was little that could be done. After receiving her terminal diagnosis, she worked to raise money and increase awareness of the potential dangers of missing a cancer diagnosis due to a negligent physician.

Although the signals of cancer are well-known, when a person visits a doctor and is told they’re in the clear, they are unlikely to continue worrying about it. With breast cancer, one of the keys to treating the disease is to catch it early. Mammograms, biopsies and visits to specialists can give peace of mind that there is no cancer or catch it early if there is. People who lose a loved one to cancer due to delayed treatment need to understand what happened not only to receive compensation, but to prevent a negligent physician from making the same error with someone else.

In this instance, the woman was suffering from symptoms for several years and told that she had a muscle strain. Because the signals were missed, she went without treatment until it was too late. If there is an issue with a missed diagnosis and a person suffered from worsened condition and even death because of it, it is imperative to discuss the matter with an attorney experienced with the failure to diagnose cancer. This will help to determine what options there are for the victim or their surviving family members to receive compensation.

Source: New York Daily News, “English mother misdiagnosed with tennis elbow two years ago dies of breast cancer,” Nina Golgowski, June 2, 2014