Missed Skin Cancer Diagnosis
Columbus, Ohio, Medical Malpractice Lawyers | Failure To Diagnose Skin Cancer
Doctors sometimes miss the opportunity for an early diagnosis of skin cancer (melanoma), sometimes with tragic consequences. Our medical malpractice attorneys can determine whether the doctor’s failure to diagnose skin cancer fell below the standard of care.
Melanoma is the most deadly of skin cancers. If it is diagnosed and treated early, it is almost 100 percent curable. If it is not diagnosed at an early stage, the cancer can metastasize – or spread – to other places in the body and can be fatal. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults (25-29 years old) and the second most common form of adolescent cancer. The incidence of melanoma has been steadily rising for the past 30 years. One American dies of melanoma every 61 minutes.
The five-year survival rate for melanoma patients who are diagnosed and treated before the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent. However, the five-year survival rates for “regional” and “distant” stage melanomas are 65 percent and 15 percent respectively.
There are two types of melanomas – radial and nodular. Radial melanomas begin in the epidermis (thin outer layer of skin). In the early stage of growth, radial melanomas are noninvasive and completely curable. If left untreated, the melanoma begins an “invasive radial” growth stage in which it reaches the dermis (the middle layer of skin). Radial melanoma is about 90 percent curable at this point. In the next phase of growth – the “invasive vertical” stage, the melanoma progresses into the subcutaneous layer and malignant cells can be released into lymph and blood vessels, allowing the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. Most radial melanomas spread internally within six to18 months from the first appearance. Nodular melanomas begin the “invasive vertical” phase with little or no radial growth. These melanomas can spread internally in a little as three months.
Some melanomas are hard to distinguish from harmless moles. Other melanomas may appear as scaly, dry skin that can be misdiagnosed as eczema. Primary care doctors may fail to diagnose melanomas because they fail to perform proper examinations, fail to heed the early warning signs, fail to order a biopsy or fail to make a referral for a consultation with a specialist.
Contact A Lawyer
If you have been injured, or a loved one has died, because of a missed skin cancer diagnosis, contact the Columbus, Ohio, medical malpractice attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List to find out if you have a claim.
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