Types of Prostate Cancer

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Assisting Residents of Syracuse and Rochester

The prostate is a walnut-sized organ surrounding the urethra. Prostate cancer is the most common kind of cancer that men develop in the U.S. Around 200,000 men a year are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most prostate cancers develop in gland cells, but there are different types of prostate cancer that must be treated differently. Generally, prostate adenocarcinomas, the most common type, are treated with surveillance, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or hormone therapy. If you are concerned about the various types of prostate cancer and are wondering whether a delayed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose cancer caused you greater harm, you should consult the Syracuse cancer malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Types of Prostate Cancer (Prognoses and Risks of Delayed Diagnoses)

Early detection of prostate cancer increases your odds of surviving the cancer. If your doctor does not diagnose your prostate cancer until it becomes very aggressive, toxic treatment becomes necessary, or it has already spread, you may have a basis to sue for medical malpractice. Often, prostate cancer symptoms are not clear in the early stages. However, it is important for routine screenings involving digital rectal exams and prostate-specific androgen tests to take place once men turn 50. Men who have one or more risk factors should discuss with their doctors about whether routine screening must start earlier.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include pain or burning while urinating, trouble urinating, frequent urges to urinate at night, decreased urine flow, blood in urine, and loss of bladder control. However, once the cancer metastasizes to nearby bones and tissues, it can press on spinal nerves. Symptoms of prostate cancer at that point may include erectile dysfunction, blood in semen, painful ejaculation, numbness, bone pain, and swollen legs or pelvis.

There are many different types of prostate cancer, and the type will help a doctor determine which kind of treatment is necessary. It will also dictate what the risks of a delayed diagnosis are. Types of prostate cancer include acinar adenocarcinoma, ductal adenocarcinoma, transitional cell (or urothelial) cancer, squamous cell cancer, and small cell prostate cancer. There are other rare cancers, including sarcomas and carcinoid. Acinar adenocarcinoma is a common type of cancer that is created in the gland cells lining the prostate gland. Almost everyone who develops prostate cancer has acinar adenocarcinoma.

Ductal adenocarcinoma develops in the cells all along the ducts of the prostate gland. It spreads quickly, and usually faster than acinar adenocarcinoma. It is more likely to present with advanced stage cancer, and timely detection is more of a challenge.

Transitional cell cancer develops in cells lining the bladder and urethra. It usually starts in the bladder and spreads from there. Primary transitional cell carcinoma of the prostate is rare, and experts have not determined a definitive therapy. Often, a diagnosis of this tumor may be missed at an initial exam. The tumor can have obstructive symptoms even in young patients.

Squamous cell cancer develops from the flat cells covering the prostate and also spreads quite quickly. Small cell prostate cancer is a kind of neuroendocrine cancer.

There are different grades of cancer. Identifying the grade matters because it allows those treating the cancer to understand how similar the cancer cells are to normal cells, how the cancer might act, and which treatment should be administered. A pathologist looking at biopsies and grading the prostate cells will use grades 1-5. Grades 1 and 2 are ordinary, noncancerous prostate cells. However, grades 3-5 are cancer cells. Grade 5 is the most abnormal, most cancerous cell. The overall score is developed by adding the two most common grades.

The higher the score, the more likely it is that the cancer will grow and quickly spread. When left untreated, grade 1 prostate cancer has a 10-year survival rate of 87%, with metastastes present in 20%. 42% of men with grade 2 prostate cancer develop metastases at 10 years. 24% of men have a 10-year survival rate with grade 3 prostate cancer without treatment.

Your injury lawyer can hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice based on a failure to diagnose prostate cancer by proving: (1) a doctor-patient relationship, (2) a breach in the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. While a doctor-patient relationship is usually easy to prove, it is usually necessary to retain an oncologist or other expert to opine on what the professional duty of care was and whether the breach caused injuries. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes miss a prostate cancer diagnosis or delay in diagnosing the proper type of prostate cancer, and this may be a serious breach of the professional duty of care.

A failure to diagnose may result in a prescription for symptoms rather than an attempt to determine what is causing those symptoms. For example, a doctor may make the mistake of prescribing medication for erectile dysfunction rather than ordering DGE or PSA tests, and following up appropriately with a biopsy. The biopsy is the only accepted test to confirm prostate cancer. However, other tests may be necessary to determine whether the cancer has metastasized, including an MRI, a CT scan, a bone scan, or a blood test.

Hire a Knowledgeable Syracuse Attorney for a Cancer Malpractice Case

If you were harmed by a doctor's failure to properly diagnose a certain type of prostate cancer, DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to represent you. We handle cases in Syracuse, Rochester, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oswego, Canandaigua, Utica, Wampsville, Oneida, Lowville, Watertown, Herkimer, Delhi, Cortland, Norwich, Elmira, Auburn, and Binghamton. Call our attorneys at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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