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Screening Guidelines for Lung Cancer

Syracuse Attorneys for Lung Cancer Malpractice Cases

Doctors may need to screen for certain common types of cancer to reduce the risks of a patient’s cancer developing or spreading. It may be appropriate for your doctor to follow screening guidelines for lung cancer before you have signs and symptoms. Not all types of lung cancer require screening or should be screened for, but if you have non-small cell lung cancer and should have been screened but weren’t and a diagnosis was missed such that you were harmed, you may have a case for damages. You should give the results-oriented Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys a call.

Failure to Follow Screening Guidelines for Lung Cancer

The biggest risk factor for non-small cell lung cancer is smoking. While smoking has dropped in recent years, many Americans continue to smoke or have a history of smoke and are therefore at risk for lung cancer. These risks increase with age and are higher when a patient is at least 55 years old and had cumulative exposure to tobacco. Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer and generally has a poor prognosis. However, early-stage non-small cell lung cancer does have a better prognosis than other kinds of cancer and can be addressed through surgical resection.

Screening guidelines focus on detecting and treating early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Low-dose CT is widely regarded as the most sensitive test for screening; evidence suggests that there is a benefit to lung cancer screening with lose-dose CT when a patient is at high risk of lung cancer. However, there are certain potential risks in connection with this type of screening, and certain patients for whom it would be inappropriate, which makes it crucial to retain a lung cancer lawyer who works with credible experts. Chest radiography and sputum cytologic evaluation are sometimes also used to screen for lung cancer.

Los-dose Helical or Spiral Computed Tomography

The amount you smoke will determine which recommendations your Syracuse or Upstate New York doctor should follow. ASCO recommends a CT scan on a yearly basis if you are age 55 – 74 and you smoked for 30 “pack years” or more. A pack year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes or a single pack every day for a year. The yearly scan is also recommended if you are ages 55-74 and you quit smoking in the last 15 years. However, importantly, this CT scan isn’t recommended if you’ve smoked less than 30 pack years, are outside the age 55 – 74 window, or you quit smoking more than 15 years ago.

Similarly, the United States Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that people aged 50 -80 who smoke for 20 or more pack years, or quit in the last 15 years, get screened with lose-dose CT scans every year. It has recommended that screening be stopped if you are a patient who hasn’t smoked for a full 15 years, or you developed another condition that would prevent you from being a good candidate for surgical resection.

Liability in Syracuse

Not all failures to screen for lung cancer will count as medical malpractice in Upstate New York. For the best outcome, we will need to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed you a professional standard of care that involved screening you for non-small cell lung cancer, (2) breach of the professional standard of care, (3) the breach caused you injuries, and (4) actual damages.


If we can establish liability for failure to diagnose lung cancer, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys may be able to recover damages. The extent of harm you suffered will determine the amount and type of damages that can be recovered. In most cases, these are compensatory damages intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had there been no failure to diagnose.

Consult an Experienced Upstate New York Lung Cancer Malpractice Lawyer

If you were not screened for non-small cell lung cancer and develop it, you may have grounds to sue for damages, and should consult the Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys. We seek the best results for cancer patients and their families in Utica, Lowville, Rochester, Auburn, Buffalo, Watertown, Herkimer, Oswego, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Binghamton, Elmira, Albany, and all of Upstate New York. Complete our online form or call us at 833-200-2000 for a free consultation.

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