Melanoma: Overlooking the Most Common Form of Cancer

Hinsdale personal injury attorneyEven as summer draws to a close, it is still wise to practice “safe sun” as skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer in this country. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 76,000 new cases of melanoma in the United States this year with an estimated 10,000 people losing their battle against the disease.

Not only is melanoma the most common form of cancer, it is often the most neglected or misdiagnosed cancer with the number of those misdiagnosed rising annually, both in the United States and globally.

If caught early, the survival rate for melanoma is good but only if the patient and their doctor are vigilant about the investigation of any type of skin changes. If a patient is concerned about the evolution of any type of skin change, his or her physician should take full responsibility for conducting a thorough history and alerting the patient to possible danger signs. If there is any measure of suspicion, it is best that the physician orders a biopsy and conducts a thorough investigation.

Although this seems like a nonintrusive protocol, what can delay a melanoma diagnoses? If a patient has voiced concern, certain factors may lead to potential liability on the part of the medical professional, including:

  • Failure to conduct a complete physical examination;
  • Failure to conduct a formal medical history;
  • Failure to order a biopsy;
  • Failure to accurately read and interpret test results;
  • Failure to disclose recommended cancer screening tests; and
  • Failure to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

With melanoma, time is of the essence. The most common injuries caused by a delayed or misdiagnosis can result in:

  • Severe pain;
  • Reduced treatment options;
  • More extensive, expensive and painful treatment options;
  • Long or permanent disabilities;
  • Inoperable cancer; and
  • Premature death.

In the event that a patient has been misdiagnosed or a healthcare professional delayed treatment, the next step would be to seek alternative treatment as possible. Once secured under a new treatment plan, certain questions need to be answered before seeking professional legal assistance:

  • Was there an established physician-patient relationship?
  • Did the physician fail to exercise melanoma protocol and care?
  • Did a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis result in injury, disability or death of a loved one?

If you can answer affirmatively to these three questions, it may be time to enlist legal assistance. The experienced DuPage County medical malpractice attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio offer a free consultation. Our legal team can help you understand how your legal rights may provide compensation for your medical care as well as preventing future injury to others. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-key-statistics

http://www.themdu.com/guidance-and-advice/latest-updates-and-advice/avoiding-skin-cancer-diagnosis-delays

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