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Primary Care Physician

Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Failure to Screen for Cancer

Certain common cancer types should be screened for by primary care physicians. In some cases, screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancer, along with non-small cell lung cancer, can catch abnormalities and cancer early enough that they can be stopped from growing and spreading and leading to a worsened prognosis for a patient. When a primary care physician fails to screen for cancer and a patient winds up with late-stage or metastasized cancer, the losses for him and his family can be devastating. If this happens to you, it’s important to consult the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys to seek the best available outcome.

Primary Care Physician’s Failure to Screen for Cancer

Syracuse primary care physicians play an important role in preventing cancer. They provide advice related to risky conduct and vaccines and they may prescribe medications that play a role in cancer. One of a primary care physician’s most critical roles may be to perform cancer screenings, whether that involves Pap tests, colonoscopies, or imaging studies like mammograms. When a screening comes back with abnormalities, primary care physicians may need to make referrals to oncologists and other specialists who can determine an appropriate course of care. If they fail to screen for cancer, and a patient’s cancer worsens and becomes harder and more expensive to treat, there may be a claim for medical malpractice.

Primary care physicians and their staff in Syracuse should take down your medical history when you come in for medical care. In most cases, they will ask you whether you have a family member who had serious health conditions such as cancer and whether you have risk factors, such as a history of smoking. Screening can be especially important when a patient has family members who suffered from breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or cervical cancer and a family history can be used to assess risk. How long a patient survives after diagnosis can hinge on the primary care doctor’s screening efforts even before cancer developed.

To establish that a failure to screen was medical malpractice in this context, we will need to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) your primary physician failed to meet the professional standard of care, (2) the failure caused you harm, and (3) you suffered actual damages as a result. Often, defendants argue that the cancer would have progressed regardless of their own conduct. It is crucial to retain a lawyer who works with experts who understand the screening guidelines and can offer careful opinions about what a competent primary care doctor in or around Syracuse would have done when determining how to proceed with your medical care.

Professional Standard of Care for Primary Care Physicians

A physician’s professional standard of care depends on what other primary physicians in the same geographic region and specialty would have done when seeing a patient similar to you in terms of age, sex, risk factors, and other characteristics. If, for instance, a reasonably prudent primary care physician in Syracuse would have had you go through mammograms based on your sex, age, and family history of breast cancer, and yours didn’t, we may be able to establish medical malpractice. Similarly, if your primary care physician should have asked you to go through colorectal cancer screening, and yours didn’t, resulting in your colon cancer not getting caught until it reached Stage 4, our Syracuse may be able to establish liability.


When we are able to establish liability, we may be able to obtain compensatory damages, both economic and noneconomic. These can include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. The severity of harm you suffer as the result of your doctor’s failure to screen will determine the type of damages and the amount of any award our lawyers can recover on your behalf.

Consult an Experienced Cancer Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed or a loved one died because of a primary care physician’s failure to screen for cancer, call the tenacious Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys to seek best results on your behalf. We represent patients in Buffalo, Canandaigua, Utica, Lowville, Rochester, Wampsville, Auburn, Watertown, Herkimer, Oswego, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Binghamton, Elmira, Albany, and all of Upstate New York. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

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