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Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Syracuse Lawyers for Patients Harmed by Medical Malpractice

Skin cancer involves the abnormal growth of skin cells. The three primary kinds of skin cancer are melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Monitoring for signs and symptoms of skin cancer should occur if you have a family history or any worrisome signs or symptoms of skin cancer. The successful treatment of skin cancer requires early diagnosis to prevent the disease from progressing to an advanced stage that will require more invasive treatment or not respond to any treatment at all. If your physician failed to diagnose, monitor or treat your skin cancer, contact the Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano for a consultation.

Types of Skin Cancer

The signs and symptoms of skin cancer depend on the type of cancer. Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma frequently occur on the areas of skin exposed to the sun. Melanoma shows up on the face, trunk or lower legs. Signs of melanoma include a mole that changes its appearance or bleeds; a large brown spot with darker speckles; lesions with irregular borders and color change; or a painful lesion, dark lesions on toes, fingertips, soles, palms, or mucous membranes. Squamous cell carcinoma can present as a flat lesion with a crusty surface or as a red nodule. Basal cell carcinoma might appear as a bleeding sore, a scar like lesion, or a pearly bump. There are also other less common types of skin cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, sebaceous gland carcinoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma that have various presentations.

Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer

You and your health care provider should monitor for signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment can be crucial to obtaining a favorable outcome. When skin cancer is detected early, a surgeon may be able to remove the precancerous cells before it spreads. If you have any suspicious moles or lesions on your skin, you should ask your doctor to inspect them. Your doctor should examine the mole or lesion. In some cases, doctors may conduct a differential diagnosis, whereby they list all potential diagnoses, and then test them one by one to eliminate possible causes of the symptoms. It may be appropriate for your doctor to refer you to an oncologist specializing in skin cancer.

Liability for Delayed or Misdiagnosis of Skin Cancer

Risk factors for skin cancer include a personal history of skin cancer, family history of skin cancer, specific types of moles, and older age. If you have risk factors, your doctor should be attentive to the possibility of skin cancer, particularly if you come in with concerns.

A general practitioner or oncologist who fails to monitor signs and symptoms of skin cancer may be held accountable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. You'll need to prove it's more likely than not your doctor failed to abide by the professional standard of care and in so doing, caused your injuries. There must be quantifiable damages that you could recover from such a suit.

New York follows the locality rule. The court will look at whether your doctor acted as a reasonably prudent doctor in his specialty in Syracuse would have done. In other words, if your dermatologist failed to refer you to an oncologist when it would have been appropriate to do so based on your signs and symptoms, the court will look at whether other reasonably prudent dermatologists would have made the referral under the same circumstances.

The following may be a breach of the professional duty to monitor a patient for signs and symptoms of skin cancer: failure to conduct a differential diagnosis; failure to conduct adequate tests; misinterpretation of test results; misdiagnosis; failure to treat skin cancer, delay in treatment, or administration improper treatment for the particular type of cancer at issue. Because the facts in each case are unique, you should discuss your circumstances with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.


You may be able to recover compensatory damages if your doctor failed to monitor you for signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Compensatory damages cover both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses may include out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, lost income, surgical bills, and replacement services. Noneconomic losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment. If your loved one died because of a doctor's failure to monitor skin cancer signs, you may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover your pecuniary losses.

Retain a Syracuse Attorney

Monitoring for signs and symptoms of skin cancer is an essential preventative measure. If you were harmed or a loved one died due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of skin cancer, you should discuss your losses with our seasoned lawyers. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent skin cancer patients and their families throughout Upstate New York in Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Ithaca, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Utica, Elmira, Herkimer, and Binghamton. Complete DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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