Metastasis occurs when cancer cells spread to new parts of the body. They often spread via the bloodstream or the lymph system. Metastatic cancer is a cancer that spread from the place where it started, whether the kidneys or the breast or the skin, into other regions of the body. For example, if you started out with a lump in the breast and it spread throughout your body, it has metastasized. If you were harmed or a loved one died because a doctor failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed metastatic cancer, a skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorney can help you assess your legal options.Metastatic Cancer
In order to recognize and diagnose metastatic cancer, a doctor would first need to locate the cancer's point of origin, and then test further to figure out how far it has spread. If a doctor fails to find and treat cancer before it spreads, it can be a lot more difficult to treat. The resulting complications can be injurious or even fatal. A doctor who fails to realize cancer has metastasized will not provide adequate follow-up care, including imaging. This can allow cancer to continue to spread and grow and eventually become untreatable. A patient with metastatic cancer that is left untreated can die.
The most common places that metastatic cancer originates and travels are known. Bladder cancer may spread to the lungs, liver, or bone. Often breast cancer spreads to the lungs, liver, brain or bone, and lung cancer may spread to the other lung, the liver, bone, or brain. Melanoma or skin cancer may spread to the lungs, liver, brain or bone. Uterine cancer may impact the lungs, liver, or bones. Pancreatic cancer can spread to the liver or lungs.
Symptoms of metastatic cancer depend on the point of metastasis. Brain cancer is often accompanied by dizziness, seizures, and headaches. Lung cancer is often accompanied by shortness of breath. Bone cancer often causes fractures and pains. If you've been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor should follow certain guidelines to follow up with you and treat you. The follow-up and treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, but could entail blood work, surgery, and radiology studies.Establishing Liability
If your doctor failed to diagnose metastatic cancer or misdiagnosed it, it is possible there was medical malpractice, and a knowledgeable medical negligence lawyer can assess your potential case. To establish your medical malpractice claim, you need to prove: (1) the doctor owed you a duty of care in a doctor-patient relationship, (2) the doctor breached the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Generally, if a doctor treats you for local cancers, he or she should follow up on any signs the cancer has spread. To establish a breach in the professional standard of care, you need to show that a reasonable doctor in the same specialty, given the same circumstances and information that your doctor had, would have diagnosed the metastatic cancer and treated it or referred you to someone who could treat it. Sometimes causation is a bit challenging to establish. You need to show that the failure to diagnose metastatic cancer or the failure to treat it increased your risk of injuries or death. If the failure did not alter the outcome adversely, you would not be able to recover damages.Damages
An important element of a medical malpractice claim is damages. Damages are usually compensatory, which means they are awarded to put you back in the place you would have been in had there been no malpractice. They can include costs of medical care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to represent you if your doctor misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose and treat metastatic cancer. Our lawyers also sue negligent health care providers and hospitals in Rochester, Lyons, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Cooperstown, Utica, Oswego, Watertown, Oneida, Delhi, Lowville, Herkimer, Norwich, Binghamton, Ithaca, Auburn and Elmira. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.