Last Updated on February 19, 2024

Can I Sue If I've Been Diagnosed with Lung Cancer Late?

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the US.  The American Cancer Society expects around 234,589 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2024. While being the leading cause of cancer death in the US, studies show that early detection of lung cancer early contributes to an 85% 5-year survival rate. 

Patients who have experienced a delayed or missed lung cancer diagnosis may be able to claim compensation. Should you feel like your lung cancer was diagnosed late by a medical provider, contact us today. We offer no-obligation consultations and will walk you through your next steps.

Symptoms and Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Early symptoms of lung cancer can be very subtle. Perhaps you – or someone you know – have experienced these symptoms firsthand. If these symptoms were disclosed to your medical provider, then failure to subject you to the appropriate tests strengthens your claim for medical malpractice. Understanding your medical history is one of the most effective ways to detect lung cancer early

Some of the early signs of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent and worsening coughs (having chronic cough)
  • Producing blood when coughing
  • Experiencing pains (in your chest, back, or shoulders) when coughing/laughing/breathing.
  • Episodal shortness of breath while carrying out daily activities
  • Wheezing/Hoarseness
  • Feeling lethargic or weak
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Recurring lung infections

Aside from individuals that exhibit symptoms of lung cancer, doctors should also provide extra attention for high-risk patients. These are individuals who have a history of lung cancer in their immediate family; history of smoking; or have frequented environments where their lungs are potentially compromised

Multiple tests can be done to detect your lung cancer early. This is especially true for high-risk individuals. These detection tests may include but are not limited to:

Imaging testsCT scans, PET scans, and X-rays are used to detect lung tumors and assess their size and spread.
BiopsiesExtraction of lung tissue samples that pathologists examine for cancerous cells under a microscope.
BloodworkMeasuring tumor marker levels that indicate lung cancer's presence or progression (e.g., elevated CEA levels may signal advancement in lung cancer)
Genetic testsIdentifying mutations associated with higher lung cancer risk, such as in the EGFR gene
Pulmonary Function TestsGauging how well the lungs work and checking if the airflow is obstructed

Malpractice and Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis

New York City Bar Association defines Medical Malpractice as “[something that] occurs when a doctor, health care professional, hospital or other health care facility fails to care for someone in accordance with the accepted standards of the medical profession and the person is injured, becomes ill or a condition or illness worsens as a result.”

Simply put, you can sue for medical malpractice if the actions (or inaction) of your doctor/physician have caused harm to your health – and in this context, have allowed your lung cancer to progress. Keep in mind that malpractice can occur at any point in your journey. Here are some scenarios:

1) Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis 

Your healthcare provider failed to detect or incorrectly diagnose your lung cancer. For instance, your radiologist might misinterpret mammogram results, effectively delaying diagnosis.

2) Failure to Order Follow-up Tests

Your healthcare providers have overlooked the need for additional tests or biopsies to confirm cancer. This oversight can lead to the advancement of the disease and a worsened prognosis for you.

3) Providing Inadequate Treatment 

Errors have occurred during the actual treatment of your lung cancer. This might involve undergoing incorrect surgical procedures, receiving improper chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or not receiving proper post-operative care.

4) Lack of Informed Consent

Your healthcare provider failed to fully inform you about your treatment options, including the associated risks and benefits. Not obtaining your informed consent before treatment can also be considered medical malpractice.

5) Failure to Monitor

Your healthcare provider has not adequately monitored you during lung cancer treatment. This oversight can result in complications or, worse, the return of the disease.

Understanding Lung Cancer

It is very important to understand the technicalities of lung cancer. Doing so would allow you to make better-informed decisions – both legally and medically.

Types Of Lung Cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer:

[1] Small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which accounts for about 15% of lung cancer cases; and 

[2] Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for about 85% of lung cancer cases.

Of these two, SCLC is known to spread more quickly and aggressively.

Stage Groupings for Lung Cancer

We know that the development of any cancer is described in stages. Generally, these stages indicate the size of the tumor and where the tumors have spread. There are 23 specific stage groupings for NSCLC, but here’s a brief overview for you:

Stage 0: Cancer is “in situ” (meaning "in place") and has not spread to nearby tissues. If diagnosed with this, you may feel relieved and hopeful as stage 0 breast cancer is often very treatable.
Stage I: Cancer has not grown deeply into nearby tissues. It also has not spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Feel free to be concerned, but remain optimistic for it has a good prognosis for recovery.
Stage II and Stage III: Cancer has developed deeply into nearby tissue. They may have also spread to lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body. Do not lose hope. These stages may require more intensive treatment but still offer opportunities for successful outcomes.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body. Also known as advanced or metastatic cancer. Seek support and remain positive. There are comprehensive treatments and ongoing care that can improve your quality of life.

Working with Lung Cancer Malpractice Specialists

To win a medical malpractice case, you’d need to work with both medical and legal professionals. Oncologists, radiologists, pulmonologists, and/or pathologists aid in identifying the exact malpractice that occurred. Their knowledge of standard care within the medical industry is invaluable for strengthening your case. Lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice always work in tandem with medical professionals.  

Do you believe that you’ve been subjected to medical malpractice? Your ideal first step would be to speak to a lawyer – one who works with a medical specialist in analyzing your medical records. These professional opinions can determine if you have a valid case. Based on our experience, the best outcomes result from beginning the process early.

Speak to a Lung Cancer Malpractice Attorney

Lawyers at Porter Law Group work with seasoned medical professionals and approach every medical malpractice claim holistically. We make sure that you and your family receive proper support in these trying times. If someone dear to you has been a victim of lung cancer misdiagnosis, we offer a free case evaluation for everyone. You may also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or info@porterlawteam.com to schedule an appointment.

Written By
Michael S. Porter
Personal Injury Attorney
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike built a distinguished legal career after graduating from Harvard University and earning his juris doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He served as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, gaining expertise in trial work, and is now a respected trial attorney known for securing multiple million-dollar results for his clients while actively participating in legal organizations across Upstate NY.
Legally Reviewed on February 15, 2024
Eric C. Nordby
Personal Injury Attorney
Eric, with nearly three decades of experience in personal injury litigation, holds a law degree with honors from the University at Buffalo School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University. His extensive career encompasses diverse state and federal cases, resulting in substantial client recoveries, and he actively engages in legal associations while frequently lecturing on legal topics.
This Article Was Professionally Reviewed
This page was Legally Reviewed by Eric C. Nordby on February 15, 2024. Our experts verify everything you read to make sure it's up to date. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have any questions about our content please contact us.
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