Last Updated on May 1, 2024

Can I Sue If I've Been Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma Late?

Late osteosarcoma diagnosis constitutes medical malpractice. Patients who were victims of such negligence are eligible for legal compensation from liable healthcare providers. Medical malpractice lawyers would help you establish your claim and account for compensation.

Osteosarcoma can be argued as the deadliest type of bone cancer. It is the most common type of primary bone cancer, typically developing in the long bones of the arms and legs, especially around the knee and upper arm regions. This disease develops fairly aggressively and could metastasize to other organs relatively quickly.

While its incidence is rare, allowing the disease to develop increases the risk of cancer spreading to nearby organs. The American Cancer Society estimates about 1,000 new cases of osteosarcoma every year. About half of these cases are in children and teens. Considering all its stages, osteosarcoma has a 59% 5-year relative survival rate

Can Osteosarcoma be Misdiagnosed?

Osteosarcoma is typically misdiagnosed as the following:

  1. Growing pains
  2. Stress fractures
  3. Osteomyelitis
  4. Benign bone tumors
  5. Arthritis
  6. Tendonitis/Bursitis

Misdiagnosis is a medical malpractice that stems from other errors made while a patient is being medically attended to. In the primary care setting, a recent study of medical malpractice claims indicates the following to be the most common causes of misdiagnosis:

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

Such medical malpractices notably lead to severe patient harm. Doctors responsible for causing such harm may be held legally liable, for doing so is a direct breach of their legal and professional responsibilities.

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What Are The Warning Signs of Osteosarcoma?

The warning or early signs and symptoms of osteosarcoma are fairly limited, which include:

  • Bone pain – occurs at the site of the tumor. The pain may not be persistent throughout the day but is notably worse at night. Pain could also arise from increased activity.
  • Swelling – a common symptom that occurs as the tumor develops. Lumps may be felt where the tumor is growing.
  • Limb pain – fairly common in normal, active children/teenagers. Patients may also be more susceptible to lumps and bruises.
  • Bone fractures – osteosarcoma weakens the bones. While this symptom is not common in all types of osteosarcoma, some types such as telangiectatic osteosarcomas can cause bones to crack.

Osteosarcoma is most common in patients aged 10 to 30, most especially during teenage growth spurt. This suggests the link between rapid bone growth and tumor development. The risk dwindles for middle-aged patients, then rises again for people aged 60 or older. Osteosarcoma in older adults may be linked to pre-existing bone diseases or lifestyle-related factors (diet, physical activity, tobacco use, environmental exposure, etc.)

Patients typically seek medical attention as soon as symptoms begin to recur and worsen. Healthcare providers who fail to recognize the urgency of a patient’s condition can be liable for medical negligence. 

Various screening tests are available for patients who exhibit early signs and symptoms of osteosarcoma. 

Osteosarcoma Survival Rates

The survival rates for osteosarcoma vary greatly depending on what stage the cancer was diagnosed in. Generally speaking, cancer survival rates are lower for cases caught late. This is why early detection is crucial.

Here are the 5-year relative survival rates for osteosarcoma as provided by the American Cancer Society:

STAGE5-Year Relative Survival Rate
Localized (Stage 1 or 2)76%
Regional (Stage 3)64%
Distant (Stage 4)24%

Treatment Options and Medical Spending

Treatments for osteosarcoma may vary depending on the current stage of the disease. Late stages typically require more aggressive complementary treatments, generally speaking. Some of the more conventional treatments include:

With the need for holistic treatments, medical expenses relevant to osteosarcoma can quickly add up. The National Cancer Institute considers 3 distinct phases when estimating medical expenses for treating cancer – initial care, continuing care, and end-of-life care. As of 2020, they estimate that $208.9 billion is spent by US cancer patients.

Let’s now look into the per-patient cost of these treatments. Given the limited data on osteosarcoma, the average annual expenses of cancer patients in the US are as follows:

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

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Legal Implications and Compensation

When filing a medical malpractice claim, four key elements are needed to be established. During the initial investigation,you legal team would pinpoint and aim to establish the following:

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?

Both economic and non-economic losses are considered when accounting for medical malpractice compensation. Apart from medical expenses, victims of misdiagnosis can also be compensated for emotional trauma, lost income, and lower quality of life (just to name a few). Please refer to our previous wins for actual cancer compensation figures.

Speak to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

At the Porter Law Group, we take pride in helping families rebuild from unfavorable circumstances. We do our best so that cancer patients may be rightfully compensated. If you have any questions regarding osteosarcoma and medical malpractice, please reach out for a non-obligatory free consultation.

You may also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or to schedule an appointment. If you are looking to pursue further legal action, we operate on a contingency basis – meaning you don’t have to pay anything unless we win.

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 1, 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 1, 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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