Last Updated on May 17, 2024

Can I Sue If I've Been Diagnosed with Nasal Cavity and Sinus Cancer Late?

Patients may be eligible to sue medical staff if their nasal cavity and sinus cancer is diagnosed late. Early detection and treatment are crucial to preventing the spread of nasal and sinus cancers and improving outcomes. In cases wherein delayed diagnosis was due to medical negligence, at-fault medical providers may be legally pursued.

Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers make up 3% to 5% of all head and neck cancers. These conditions are fairly rare but could pose serious threats when not detected early. Most of these cancers are caused by squamous cell cancers – which can be aggressive and could easily spread if left unchecked.

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Nasal Cavity and Sinus Cancer Misdiagnosis

Some of the earlier symptoms of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer can be dismissed as unalarming by negligent health providers (and even patients). Still, it is your doctor’s responsibility to prescribe timely screening tests to detect the disease. 

According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer include:

  • Nasal congestion and stuffiness that doesn't get better or even worsens
  • Post-nasal drip (nasal drainage in the back of the nose and throat)
  • Problems with your sense of smell
  • Pain above or below the eyes
  • Constant watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Blockage of one side of the nose
  • Pain or pressure in one of the ears
  • Pus draining from the nose
  • Hearing loss
  • Nosebleeds
  • Numbness or pain in parts of the face
  • Loosening or numbness of teeth
  • Trouble opening the mouth
  • A lump or mass on the face, palate (top of the mouth), or inside the nose
  • Enlarging lymph nodes in the neck (seen or felt as lumps under the skin)
  • Bulging of one eye
  • Loss or change in vision

It is important to understand that these symptoms are not exclusive to nasal or sinus cancers – much like symptoms of most other cancers. Patients rely on their doctor’s guidance when looking to detect cancer early.

As such, delayed cancer diagnosis results from various errors. Any misdiagnosis resulting from your doctor’s negligence can be considered medical malpractice. A recent study on medical malpractice claims found these to be the most common causes of misdiagnosis in the primary care setting: 

  • Misdiagnosis of test results and early symptoms;
  • Failure to order proper diagnostic tests; and
  • Failure to provide referrals for medical specialists.

Paranasal Cancer Survival Rates

Life expectancy for sinus cancer patients varies depending on what stage the cancer was diagnosed at. Generally speaking, cases diagnosed at more advanced stages have lower survivability. 

Here’s a breakdown of per-stage survival rates as provided by the American Cancer Society:

STAGE5-Year Relative Survival Rate
Localized (Stage 1 or 2)86%
Regional (Stage 3)52%
Distant (Stage 4)43%

Late cancer diagnosis effectively allows the disease to develop further, making cancer more difficult to cure in the long run.

Treatment Options and Medical Expenses

Treatment options for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers depend on the stage of the disease, as well as the overall health of the patient. Cancers in more advanced stages typically require more aggressive complementary treatments. Some of the more conventional treatment options include:

With the need for holistic treatments, medical expenses for treating this type of cancer can quickly add up. When estimating expenses for cancer treatments National Cancer Institute considers 3 distinct phases – initial care, continuing care, and end-of-life care. As of 2020, they estimate that upwards of $200 billion will be spent by US cancer patients annually.

Given the limited spending data on nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers, here are the average annual expenses of cancer patients in the US:

Medical ServicesPrescription Drugs
Initial Care(1st year after diagnosis)$43,516$1,874
Continuing Care(time in between)$5,518
per year
$1,041per year
End-of-Life Care(last year before passing away)$109,727$4,372

Any medical expenses (past and future) incurred due to delayed diagnosis should be accounted for when computing compensation figures. Your chosen legal counsel should help you in this matter. Keep all records of your medical expenses to fast-track your legal team’s progress.

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Establishing a Medical Malpractice Claim

There are four key elements that need to be established before a medical malpractice claim is rendered valid. These elements will be determined and pinpointed during your legal team’s initial investigation. They are as follows:

Duty of Care – Was there an appropriate doctor-patient relationship?
Breach of Duty – Did your doctor perform poorly/negligently based on accepted standards of care?
Causation – Did your doctor’s actions/inactions directly cause you harm?
Damages – What did these errors cost you?

Do note that other economic and non-economic losses are also considered when accounting for medical malpractice compensation. For actual cancer compensation figures, please refer to our previous wins.

Speak to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

At the Porter Law Group, our team of proven medical malpractice lawyers delivers ideal results.  We take pride in helping families rebuild after unfavorable circumstances.  We operate on a contingency basis – meaning you do not need to pay us anything unless we win your case. Through this approach, we can better support families during their times of need.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, please reach out to us for a non-obligatory free case evaluation. You can also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or to schedule a consultation.

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 May 2, 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 May 2, 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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