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Delayed treatment of cancer might be a medical malpractice issue

In our blog post last week, we discussed how serious the effects may be if a disease isn't diagnosed as early as possible. This week, let's take a look at one example of how an undiagnosed disease can become worse if treatment isn't started as soon as possible. Our readers in Pennsylvania might be interested in learning about metastatic cancer.

Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the original location to another location. For example, breast cancer most often spreads to the lung, liver, bone and brain. Melanoma often spreads to the brain, liver, bone, skin, muscle and lung. Prostate cancer often spreads to the lung, bone, liver or adrenal gland. Overall, the liver, bone and lungs are the most common sites of metastasis.

There are some types of metastatic cancer that can be treated; however, many types can't be treated. Sadly, most cancer deaths are deaths caused by metastatic disease and not the primary cancer. The goal of treatment for metastatic cancer is usually to prolong life, slow the spread of the cancer and relieve the symptoms it causes.

When you think about metastatic cancer, you can tell how important it is for anyone who has cancer to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. When a doctor doesn't diagnose the cancer when the patient comes in, treatment can be delayed. That delay in treatment might provide a window of time that allows the cancer to spread. For those patients, living a comfortable life might be the best option. Seeking compensation for the failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis might allow them to do just that.

Source: National Cancer Institute, "Metastatic Cancer" accessed Feb. 06, 2015

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