Last Updated on May 15, 2024

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

Patients diagnosed late by negligent healthcare providers/facilities may pursue further legal action. Through a medical malpractice claim, mishandled patients may get compensated. Said compensation allows patients to get all the medical attention necessary to improve their health and quality of life. 

By 2024, about 26,890 new cases of stomach cancer are expected in the US. About 6 in every 10 stomach cancer diagnoses are in patients aged 65 or older. While rates for this type of cancer have declined through the last decade, it still accounts for about 1.5% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the US each year.

Stomach Cancer Misdiagnosis

Delayed cancer diagnosis typically stems from various errors made by negligent doctors/facilities. In fact, a recent study found that many crucial errors were made in the primary care setting. Some of the more common errors made by primary physicians include:

  • Inaccurate diagnosis of symptoms and test results
  • Failure to order necessary test procedures
  • Failure to refer patients to respective specialists

These errors effectively delay cancers from being detected, and as such allow the disease to develop further. By allowing the disease to progress, doctors put their patients’ health in jeopardy. Stomach cancers caught late have notably lower survival rates.

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What Can Be Mistaken for Stomach Cancer?

At its earlier stages, stomach cancer rarely presents noticeable symptoms. Meaning, that stomach cancers that already present symptoms must be diagnosed right away so that prompt medical intervention may be provided. Some symptoms of stomach cancer include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Feeling full after eating only a small meal
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)

Due to the ambiguity of these symptoms, stomach cancer may be mistaken for other less severe medical conditions. Stomach cancer may be mistaken for the following:

CONDITIONSSIMILARITIES
GastritisInflammation of the stomach lining, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and indigestion.
Peptic UlcersSores in the stomach or duodenum, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and possible bleeding leading to anemia.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)Acid reflux causing heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and sometimes vomiting.
Functional DyspepsiaIndigestion without an identifiable cause, leading to abdominal pain, early satiety, bloating, and nausea.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue due to anemia.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)A disorder affecting the large intestine, causing abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.
Chronic PancreatitisLong-term inflammation of the pancreas, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Stomach Cancer?

With a 5-year relative survival rate of 36% (all stages considered), stomach cancer is relatively challenging to battle when compared to other types of cancer. Naturally, cases diagnosed early have higher survivability compared to those detected in more advanced stages. Here are the per-stage survival rates as provided by the American Cancer Society:

STAGE5-Year Relative Survival Rate
Localized (Stage 1 or 2)75%
Regional (Stage 3)35%
Distant (Stage 4)7%

We can see how the survival rate plummets when stomach cancer is detected early. This is the very reason why negligent healthcare providers must be held liable for medical malpractice – for they truly endanger the lives of their patients.

Treatment Options and Annual Spending

Treatment options for stomach cancer often depend on the stage and location of the disease. The approach usually requires at least 2 complementary treatments, needing more aggressive doses/procedures for more advanced cases. Some of the conventional treatments for stomach cancer include:

With the need for complementary treatments, medical bills can quickly pile up. According to the National Cancer Institute, US cancer patients will spend upwards of $200 billion for medical treatments annually starting 2020. 

When estimating expenses for cancer treatments, three distinct phases are considered – initial care, continuing care, and end-of-life care. By doing so, we can more accurately estimate the annual spending of cancer patients. In the context of stomach cancer, the annual per-patient expenses are as follows:

Medical ServicesPrescription Drugs
Initial Care(1st year after diagnosis)$79,120$3,436
Continuing Care(time in between)$7,079
per year
$2,499per year
End-of-Life Care(last year before passing away)$122,012$1,770

Liable healthcare providers must compensate for all medical expenses (past and future) incurred through their negligence. Apart from medical expenses, other economic and non-economic losses are also accounted for in medical malpractice claims. Lost income, emotional trauma, and decreased quality of life are some of the more common considerations. Please refer to our previous wins for actual compensation figures

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Establishing a Stomach Cancer Claim

Your medical malpractice lawyer has various responsibilities. Their first goal is to help you establish your claim. To do so, these four key elements must be pinpointed.

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?

Lawyers often work with trusted medical consultants to better establish and further strengthen your claim. Work only with proven medical malpractice experts to increase your chances for compensation. 

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  info@porterlawteam.com 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 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 May 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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