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Stage 4 Cancer Medical Malpractice, Misdiagnosis, and Legal Options

Early diagnosis is the best weapon against cancer. With it, patients can promptly get treatments and medications, effectively battling the disease before it can progress. For a clearer picture, let’s consider 3 of the more common types of cancer – prostate, colorectal, and breast. When detected at their earliest stage, their 5-year survival rate is at 88% to 100%. Their survival rate plummets at 16% to 32% when diagnosed at the latest stage.

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Late Cancer Diagnosis

At least 1 in 10 cancer patients are diagnosed at the most advanced stage (various types of cancers considered) – even as high as 5 in 10 for some types of cancer. The U.S. expects around 2 million new cancer cases in 2024*.
*different types, in different stages

Late diagnosis often results from lapses made by medical providers. A recent study involving 2000+ medical malpractice claims found these to be the most common errors committed by doctors:

  • cases of primary care diagnostic errors (found in 46% of all cases)
  • failure or delay in ordering a diagnostic test (found in 51% of all cases)
  • failure or delay in providing a referral (found in 37% of all cases)

It is your doctor’s responsibility to provide you with sufficient care and attention so you may get better. By committing these errors, doctors put patients at greater risk and breach their legally sworn responsibilities. Any wrongful action or inaction done by your doctor constitutes medical malpractice.

Cancers Often Detected Late

Some cancers are trickier than others. Cancers that are notoriously more difficult to detect early include (but are not limited to):

The difficulty in detecting these types of cancers early stems from their initial symptoms. These types of cancer generally exhibit vague symptoms at their earliest stages – sometimes even asymptomatic at first. They often only grab the attention of medical providers at later stages, especially for low-risk patients.

At the same time, their locations make detecting abnormalities trickier during physical exams. However, limited and very specific screening tests are available for high-risk patients. Your doctor must skillfully navigate these challenges, providing you with accurate diagnoses and immediate treatments. If you’ve experienced any medical malpractice during your journey, please reach out to specialized medical malpractice lawyers right away.

Dealing with Stage 4 Cancer

Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of cancer, with the highest risk of mortality. Also known as metastatic cancer (root word ‘metastasized’), it conveys that cancer has spread to other parts of the body. 

Battling cancer entails hefty medical expenses and prescription costs. Studies show that families spend the most during the final year before a cancer patient’s passing. Let’s dive quickly into expenses incurred by cancer patients throughout the phases of the treatment.

Average Annual Expenses for Cancer Treatments
Initial Phase
(1st year after diagnosis)
Medical Services: $43,516
Prescriptions: $1,874
Continuing PhaseMedical Services: $5,518
Prescriptions: $1,041
(final year before death)
Medical Services: $109,727
Prescriptions: $4,372

Apart from incurred financial burdens, families also suffer heightened emotional and psychological stress when dealing with cancer. Being diagnosed with cancer is undoubtedly life-altering. Families often need to find workarounds so that they can increase the fighting chance of an affected member. All economic and non-economic losses are accounted for when seeking compensation for medical malpractice.

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Available Treatments

Stage 4 cancer is harder to treat. Various treatments are designed not only to mitigate cancer but also to manage pain in patients. More conventional treatments include:

  • Hormone Therapy;
  • Chemotherapy;
  • Immunotherapy;
  • Radiation Therapy;
  • Surgery;
  • Targeted Prescription; and
  • Clinical Trials.

While these treatments have proven their efficacy over time, it is important to note that every patient responds to treatments differently. This is especially important when signing up for clinical trials, where newer treatments are provided while being tested.

Cancer patients can choose any combination of these therapies under the guidance of their healthcare provider.

Establishing a Medical Malpractice Claim

There are 4 key elements that you need to establish to validate a medical malpractice claim. With the help of a legal counsel, these elements would be pinpointed during your initial investigation. These elements are:

Duty of Care – “Is there an appropriate doctor-patient relationship?
Breach of Duty – “How did your doctor fail to uphold their legally sworn responsibilities?
Causation – “Does your doctor’s mistakes directly cause you pain and suffering?
Damages – “What did these mistakes cost you (emotionally, medically, financially, etc.)?

Medical malpractice lawyers work with licensed medical professionals when investigating a case. Should your legal team feel confident about your claim after the initial investigation, you can proceed by actually filing your complaint.

Working with reputable medical malpractice lawyers is crucial to getting favorable results. Your legal counsel would not only help to establish your case, but they also account for and negotiate for your rightful compensation. 

Why Porter Law Group?

We take pride in helping families rebuild from unfavorable circumstances. We stick by our clients until the end – our rapport extends even after gaining courtroom success or reaching a settlement that favors our client. If you have any questions regarding cancer misdiagnosis, please reach out for a no-obligation, free consultation.

You may also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or info@porterlawteam.com 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.

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Michael S. Porter
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