Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Attorney

Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Attorney

Skin cancer is almost always treatable when diagnosed early, and patients are rarely in grave danger. Detecting and treating skin cancer early can make it less dangerous.

However, skin cancer can be treated more slowly if its diagnosis is delayed. This delay can sometimes lead to the cancer spreading. You may be eligible for compensation if this happens.

When You Need a Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Attorney

While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer among Americans, if it is caught early, it is relatively easy to cure. However, a delayed diagnosis of skin cancer may result in prolonged treatment and multiple surgeries.

The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected before it spreads is 99%, according to the American Cancer Society. The prognosis of a patient depends on the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer. Medical malpractice may result if a doctor fails to diagnose skin cancer.

What You Need to Win a Skin Cancer Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice laws do not hold doctors liable for all diagnoses. To prove medical malpractice based on a wrong diagnosis, patients typically must prove these things:

  • They had a relationship with their doctor.
  • The doctor provided treatment in an incompetent and negligent manner.
  • Patient injuries resulted from the doctor’s negligence.
  • Diagnostic equipment had malfunctioned.
  • The results were incorrectly read due to human error, or the technician overlooked something in the x-ray or pathology slide.

Failure to diagnose incorrectly or delay diagnosis does not constitute negligence. Even skilled doctors can make diagnostic errors despite using reasonable care.

An assessment of what the doctor did and what they did not do in reaching a diagnosis is critical to determining whether the doctor acted competently. The doctor made treatment decisions based on the “differential diagnosis” method.

Doctors use differential diagnoses to identify a patient’s disease or condition systematically. In order of probability, the doctor makes a list of diagnoses based on his or her preliminary evaluation of the patient.

A physician then examines the patient further, asks detailed questions about symptoms and medical history, orders tests, or refers the patient to a specialist if further medical observations indicate a robust diagnosis.

At the end of the investigation, several possible diagnoses should be ruled out, and only one diagnosis should remain. This is not always the case, however, given the uncertainty of medicine.

The Basics of Skin Cancer

Women develop skin cancer mostly in areas of sun-exposed skin, such as their heads, faces, lips, ears, necks, chests, arms, and hands.

However, the condition can also occur in areas that do not see much sunlight such as palms, under fingernails and toenails, and genitals.

People with darker complexions are at risk of skin cancer as well. People with dark skin tones are more likely to develop melanoma in areas not normally exposed to the sun, like the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet.

Skin Cancer Types
1. Basal cell carcinoma

Typically, basal cell carcinoma occurs on parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight, such as the neck or face. Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Waxy or pearly bumps
  • A lesion that is flat or brown
  • Sore or bleeding that heals
2. Squamous cell carcinoma

In most cases, squamous cell carcinoma occurs on the face, ears, or hands. Squamous cell carcinomas tend to develop on areas of the body that are rarely exposed to the sun in people with darker skin.

This type of cancer can look like the following:

  • Red, firm nodules
  • The lesion is flat, scaly, crusted, and scaly
3. Melanoma

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, including a mole that has become cancerous or otherwise healthy skin. Men with melanomas tend to develop them on the face or trunk. Women are most likely to develop this type of cancer on their lower legs. Neither men nor women are immune to melanoma, which can occur on unexposed skin.

Anyone can be affected by melanoma. Melanoma often develops on the palms or soles of people with darker skin tones and under their fingernails and toenails.

There are several symptoms, such as:

  • Large brown spots with darker speckles
  • Moles that change color, size, feel, or bleed
  • A small lesion with a pink, white, blue, bluish-black, or red border
  • A painful lesion that itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on sensitive areas such as the soles, toes, palms, or fingertips, or the mucous membrane lining the mouth, nose, anus, and vagina
The Different Stages of Skin Cancer

Basal cell skin cancer usually doesn’t require staging. Usually, the cancer is treated before it spreads.

The chances of spreading are higher for squamous cell skin cancers, although they are still relatively low.

These types of skin cancer can spread or return if removed due to certain features. Among them are:

  • Thickness greater than 2 millimeters (millimeters) of a carcinoma (cancerous cells)
  • Entering the nerves of the skin
  • Or penetrating the lower layers of the skin
  • At an ear or lip location

To stage squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas, we follow the following steps:

  • Stage 0: Those with skin cancer only have cancer in the epidermis, not in deeper layers of the skin.
  • Stage 1: Ideally, the tumor is under 2 centimeters in size, hasn’t spread to nearby lymph nodes and has fewer than one high-risk characteristic.
  • Stage 2: A tumor is two to four centimeters in size, has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or is a tumor of any size with two or more high-risk features.
  • Stage 3: There is a tumor larger than 4 centimeters, or a tumor has spread to one of the following: blood vessels, nerve endings, and hair follicles, subcutaneous tissue is the deepest layer of skin
  • Stage 4: Depending on the size, the tumor can spread to lymph nodes bigger than 3 cm, bones, and the body’s other organs.
Recoverable Damages in a Skin Cancer Medical Malpractice Case

In cases involving failure to diagnose skin cancer, the types of recoverable damages largely depend on the consequences. Some of these consequences include:

  • Health care costs
  • Costs of plastic surgery
  • Lost wages linked to care and treatment
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Discomfort
  • Mental distress
  • In some instances, punitive damages

You may be able to pursue wrongful death compensation if a loved one dies from skin cancer due to a missed or delayed diagnosis.

Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Statistics to Know

One of the most common forms of cancer is skin cancer. Skin cancer deaths are largely caused by melanomas, which account for only about 1% of skin cancers.

Understand all the facts about skin cancer since there’s more to it than meets the eye. Further stats according to skincancer.org include:

  • Each day, more than 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer. About two people die every hour from this disease.
  • In 2012, the last year for which new statistics were available, 5.4 million nonmelanoma skin cancer cases were diagnosed in over 3.3 million Americans.
  • Each year in the U.S., more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than with all other types of cancer combined.
  • By 70, one out of five Americans will develop skin cancer.
  • There are more than 58 million cases of actinic keratosis in the United States.
  • Treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers exceeds $4.8 billion annually, while melanoma costs $3.3 billion.
  • In the United States, about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are linked to sun exposure.
  • Melanoma cases are expected to decrease by 4.7 percent in 2022.
  • By 2022, there are expected to be 6.5 percent more melanoma deaths.
  • U.S. melanoma cases will reach 197,700 in 2022.
  • Annual invasive melanoma diagnoses have increased by 31% in the last decade (2012-2022).
  • According to a study conducted in the UK, roughly 86 percent of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Melanomas are found in 20 to 30 percent of existing moles, and 70 to 80 percent of them occur on seemingly normal skin.
Call a Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Attorney Today

Medical malpractice attorneys from Graves McLain will review your case free of charge. Contact us for help understanding your rights, learning about legal options, and reviewing the medical malpractice claims process and requirements.

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