Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. As many as one in seven men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime in the U.S. With statistics this high, one would imagine that medical professionals thoroughly understand the warning signs and proper diagnosing techniques for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Men who have suffered from failure to diagnose prostate cancer need to visit Anapol Weiss for experienced legal counsel. They have been victims of medical malpractice.
The Importance of Timely Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but certain factors can increase the likelihood of this disease. Age, race, diet, and exercise, for example, can all play a part in a man’s odds of developing prostate cancer. It is a medical professional’s job to analyze risk factors, watch for signs of the disease, and make a timely diagnosis. As is the case with all cancers, a patient’s prognosis and survival rates are higher with early discovery of prostate cancer. A failed or delayed diagnosis can significantly hurt the patient’s odds of survival.
The longer a patient waits without treatment, the more time the cancer has to grow and spread to other parts of the body. There are two tests doctors can perform to screen for prostate cancer before symptoms appear: the prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) and the digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA test measures levels of PSA in the blood, a protein the prostate gland produces. Too much PSA indicates a greater chance of cancer. The DRE exam checks for abnormal areas on the prostate, typically by hand.
With these two tests and other screening tools, competent doctors should be able to diagnose prostate cancer before it spreads out of control. If caught when the cancer is confined to the prostate or nearby, the survival rate for men is almost 100%. As soon as the cancer starts to spread elsewhere, this percentage drops swiftly. It is of incredible importance for doctors to screen for prostate cancer, interpret test results correctly, and make a timely diagnosis. Failure to diagnose can, in effect, be a death sentence for men with this disease.
Are You a Victim of Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer?
There is no reason a doctor should ever fail to diagnose prostate cancer. While there are no specific signs of this disease until it’s in its advanced stages, doctors should be on the lookout for prostate-related health issues and risk factors. If a reasonably competent doctor would have made the diagnosis in similar circumstances, the doctor in question is guilty of professional negligence. This is the question the courts will ask when ruling on whether or not a defendant committed medical malpractice during failure to diagnose prostate cancer cases.
To prove your doctor acted negligently, you will likely need to hire an expert witness. The expert should be a professional within the field at hand, or someone in the same profession as the defendant. The Pennsylvania courts have specific requirements for your expert witness, as well as for a certificate of merit (affidavit). The certificate of merit requires an attorney’s signature, and states an expert is willing to testify that the defendant likely breached his/her duties, or that the breach is obvious enough not to need expert testimony.
Contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
The attorneys at Anapol Weiss have more than 40 years of experience filing medical malpractice claims with the Philadelphia courts. We know the limitations, rules, and expectations for filing. We can help you improve your chances of the courts accepting your case the very first time. Our team will walk you through the entire process, from investigating the incident to settlement negotiations. We truly care about your health, well-being, and future. We want to help you bring negligent practitioners to justice. Contact us for a free consultation about failure to diagnose prostate cancer.