Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers recognize Lung Cancer Awareness Month during the month of November. The lungs are two spongy organs in your chest responsible for taking in oxygen when you inhale and releasing carbon dioxide when you exhale. Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. The abnormal cells do not serve the same functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. In fact, as the abnormal cells continue to grow, they may form tumors and interfere with the way the lung functions.
There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common of the two and accounts for approximately 85 percent of lung cancers, ranging from Stage I up to Stage IV. Stage IV is the most advanced stage if non-small cell lung cancer and indicates that the cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs. Small cell lung cancer, diagnosed as either limited or extensive stage, grows and spreads faster than non-small cell lung cancer.
There are a number of factors that can increase a person’s risks of developing lung cancer. The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking tobacco. According to statistics, almost 87% of all U.S. lung cancer cases are smoking related. This includes exposure to secondhand smoke. Even people who do not smoke, but are often exposed to smoke on a regular basis, have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Therefore, it is always recommended to quit smoking or limit time around those who do smoke.
In addition to smoking, other outside environmental conditions or exposure to other substances can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos, radon, radiation, air pollution and other industrial substances like arsenic, beryllium, vinyl chloride, coal products, gasoline, and diesel exhaust all increase the risk of lung cancer. Additionally, genetic factors, tuberculosis, and in some cases, military personnel exposed to certain environments, also play a role in developing lung cancer.
As with any disease, timely and proper diagnosis is critical in treating lung cancer. Treatment options are typically dependent upon the stage of the patient’s cancer, so the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better. Failing to diagnose or a misdiagnosis may allow the cancer to progress to a more serious stage or metastasize and spread. Unfortunately, by that time it may too late to treat the lung cancer and the outcome will be fatal.
A delay in diagnosing lung cancer or misdiagnosing lung cancer can be caused by a number of factors. In some cases, physicians ignore a patient’s symptoms. Other times, they fail to order the proper diagnostic tests or improperly read the results of those tests. Whatever the case, misdiagnosing or failure to diagnose lung cancer can have harmful effects on the patient. Patients are encouraged to continue to talk to their physicians about their symptoms, especially when those symptoms have worsened or if the patient continues to experience pain. Asking for further testing or seeking a second opinion is also advised. Medical professionals are ultimately responsible for providing patients with a generally accepted standard of care. Therefore, patients who have been misdiagnosed or whose physician has failed to diagnose lung cancer should immediately contact an attorney for further guidance.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling medical malpractice cases resulting from failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis of lung cancer. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice lawyers and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of a physician’s failure to diagnose or treat lung cancer or another type of cancer, contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More