These days, it seems like it shouldn't be hard to detect many forms of cancer in the early stages through a few blood tests or some x-rays. After all, medical science has evolved well beyond the point that many people would have dreamed just a few decades ago.
However, cancer deaths are rising rather than falling. Researchers estimate that around 13.1 million people will die of cancer each year by 2030. A significant part of that problem is that doctors are still failing to detect cancer in the early stages when it is most treatable. The cures are getting better, but they're mostly useless if someone is already at the final stage of the disease when they're diagnosed.
Why is it happening? Several factors are involved:
- People put off seeking medical treatment because they don't want to be a bother (or be bothered to do it).
- People are uneducated about the signs of cancer (like unintentional weight loss, unexplained pain, unusual bleeding and changes in their bowel or bladder habits).
- Doctors often dismiss the earliest signs of cancer as something trivial.
- Doctors sometimes take the symptoms seriously but make the wrong diagnosis. They misdiagnose lung cancer as nothing more than asthma instead of looking a little closer at the patient's symptoms.
- Doctors fail to follow up on lab reports or the lab reports get lost in electronic health records and never seen.
It's estimated that 46% of people with cancer will be diagnosed too late for medical intervention to do any good. If your cancer was misdiagnosed or you received a delayed diagnosis, talk to an attorney who can aggressively protect your rights.