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Cancer Misdiagnosis


Physicians have a legal obligation to provide patients with quality medical care. Providing proper diagnosis to patients is an important part of providing quality medical care. When a physician fails to properly diagnose a patient with cancer or another chronic disease, the patient’s medical condition can deteriorate more rapidly than had the cancer been properly diagnosed. Failure to diagnose cancer promptly can also lead to the patient passing away because cancer has progressed to a more lethal stage.  

If a doctor has misdiagnosed you or your loved one, you may be able to pursue compensation for your damages. It does not matter whether or not you can make a full recovery or you are not expected to survive after being properly diagnosed with cancer. You and your family deserve full and fair compensation when medical doctors fail to provide an accurate and timely diagnosis. 

Cancer Misdiagnosis

Common Examples of Dangerous Cancer Misdiagnosis

When it comes to cancer, early detection is crucial to ensure the best prognosis possible for a patient. The sooner cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome for the patient, in most cases. Cancer treatment continues to evolve and become more advanced, but the earlier the cancer is treated, the better it usually responds. Unfortunately, when doctors misdiagnose various cancers, they harm patients, causing worse outcomes. Doctors misdiagnose cancer for various reasons, including the following: 

  • Doctors do not take enough time to obtain a complete family history from patients, which can increase the risks for certain types of cancers 
  • Doctors rely on results of only one type of diagnostic test that may not be reliable 
  • Doctors dismiss some cancer symptoms too quickly and assume they are the result of a less serious disease 
  • Doctors fail to order a reasonable amount of diagnostic tests that would rule out other cases of the patient’s symptoms 
  • Doctors fail to follow a reasonable and standard medical timeline for prompt diagnosis of cancer 

In other cases, pathologists responsible for examining biopsy specimens may fail to identify certain types of cancers accurately. For example, some doctors and pathologists may pay less attention to rare cancers, increasing the risk that patients will experience dangerous delays in treatment.  

Commonly Misdiagnosed Types of Cancer

Certain types of cancers are more commonly misdiagnosed by doctors, including

Colon cancer, which can be prevented by early detection, often goes misdiagnosed because doctors do not order a colonoscopy. This is especially true for patients under the age of 50 or over the age of 75. When doctors fail to accurately consult a patient’s family history, they could miss the fact that the patient has family members who have had colon cancer. Doctors may fail to diagnose breast cancer accurately by not scheduling a mammogram even though the patient has symptoms. In other cases, radiologists fail to properly read the image or lack experience in interpreting the image correctly. 

Proving a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

Not every misdiagnosis by a doctor will result in a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. Suppose you think you may have a medical malpractice case after being promptly misdiagnosed or not diagnosed with cancer. In that case, you must speak to an attorney as soon as possible. You will need to prove several elements to succeed in a medical malpractice case based on a cancer diagnosis. First, you will need to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed, resulting in your doctor’s legal duty to provide reasonable care to you under the circumstances.  

You will need to prove that the doctor breached the duty of care by failing to provide the standard, accepted level of care. For example,  if a reasonable doctor would have been able to detect a cancerous lump on an X-ray and failed to do so, you can prove that the doctor breached his or her duty to you. As a plaintiff, you will need to prove that the breach caused you an injury. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose you with cancer and you could not receive a correct diagnosis until six months later, the misdiagnosis caused you an injury. Your cancer has progressed and will be more challenging to treat. 

What Compensation is Available in a Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?

As a medical malpractice lawsuit plaintiff, you must show that you have suffered financial hardship due to the misdiagnosis. Plaintiffs can pursue economic damages for easily quantifiable expenses, such as medical expenses and lost income. They can also pursue compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured. 

The attorneys at LawMD have the experience and medical knowledge necessary to accurately quantify all of the expenses you have suffered because of your cancer misdiagnosis. If your loved one has passed away from cancer due to a missed or delayed diagnosis, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. While nothing can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit can allow your family to recover funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and compensation for your pain, suffering, and loss of consortium. 

What Should I Do if I Suspect a Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Several factors may indicate that your doctor has misdiagnosed you. If your doctor did not take sufficient time to get all the information necessary to make a correct diagnosis or did not order all the available tasks, you should suspect a misdiagnosis. If you have doubts about your doctor’s opinion, it is beneficial to reach out and get a second opinion. Keep detailed records, notes of your doctor’s responses, and copies of all their medical records. Documenting a timeline will help you if you pursue a legal claim against the doctor.  

Get a Free Consultation with a Physician-Attorney - We Represent Clients Nationwide

At LawMD, our legal professionals are not just excellent attorneys. Most of them are also medical doctors. Our team includes medical professionals with various specialties, including radiology and oncology. If you or your loved one were misdiagnosed with cancer, you need an aggressive, experienced attorney on your side. Contact LawMD today to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your case with a skilled attorney. During your no-obligation consultation, one of our skilled attorney-doctors will help you understand your legal options. 



Most of our physician-attorneys are either current or past treating doctors in, collectively, a wide range of medical specialties. There is a good chance one or more of our physician attorneys have actually treated medical conditions similar to the ones from which you or your loved one now suffers. That translates into care and understanding as your Counselors, and know-how as your Advocates.


Any honest medical malpractice attorney will tell you that one of the greatest expenses in a medical malpractice case is having to pay physician experts to study the details of the medical issues in your case and, if necessary, provide testimony at deposition and trial. While even our physician attorneys may also need to hire outside medical experts for your case, our medical know-how allows us to perform a significant amount of the medical analysis necessary for your case in-house which may translate into significant savings at the conclusion of your case.


Because we have in-house medical know-how, we can evaluate the medical questions in your case and provide answers without a lengthy wait. Our internal process involves getting the issues in your case quickly in front of the right physician attorney who, based on his or her medical experience and training, is most likely to have the answers you seek about whether you have a case and how we might help you get the compensation you deserve to help secure a brighter future for you and for your loved ones.


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