Early Cancer Diagnosis Leads to Better Treatment
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Sep 12, 2016
With each year, medicine rapidly advances, and cancer treatment becomes better and better. Recently, immunotherapy – which relies on a body’s own immune system to fight cancer, acting on the cells of the immune system – has been introduced as a promising advance in cancer research. With more research, immunotherapy may be a large part of the answer behind beating cancer and extending life. According to an article in The New York Times, immunotherapy has mostly been used to treat blood cancers, like leukemia, although research with immunotherapy is also being done in regards to kidney cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
While cancer treatments are progressing, a serious consideration still exists: if cancer is not diagnosed early, it may proliferate to the point where even the most advanced and aggressive of treatment options fail.
Early Diagnosis and Improved Rates of Survival
To validate the statement above – that early diagnosis is essential to survival – consider the following statistics about how spotting cancer early can make a real difference in a patient’s outcome, as provided by Cancer Research UK:
- Nine out of 10 bowel cancer patients will survive for at least five years if the cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage;
- Nine out of 10 breast cancer patients will survive for at least five years if the cancer is caught at its earliest stage – sadly, only about 15 percent of women will survive when the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage; and
- Seven out of 10 lung cancer patients will survive for at least one year if the cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage – this is compared to a mere 14 percent who live when the cancer is caught at its most advanced stage.
When cancer is not diagnosed early and treatment is delayed, the cancer has the chance to grow and spread to other parts of the body, making it much more difficult to effectively combat.
Why Is Cancer Diagnosed Late or Misdiagnosed?
In many cases, a cancer diagnosis is delayed because the victim of the cancer does not recognize signs and symptoms, or does not seek medical care at the first sign of symptoms. If a person does recognize symptoms, they may have fears about seeing a doctor and receiving bad news.
But the lack of diagnosis is not always the fault of the patient; in many cases, general practitioners delay in sending patients for the proper tests, there are delays in getting a patient in to see a specialist or get an appointment at the hospital, or a doctor misinterprets symptoms to be a sign of a different, less serious, condition.
Get in Touch With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Philadelphia
When cancer is caught early on, the patient has a higher chance of survival. If you are the victim of a delayed diagnosis, the standard of care owed to you by your physician may have been breached, and you may have a civil action. To learn more, contact our competent Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys today for a free case consultation.