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Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. Nearly 200,000 men a year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Early detection increases a man’s likelihood to survive the cancer. If your doctor failed to diagnose your prostate cancer until it required aggressive and/or toxic treatment, or had spread to other parts of your body, it may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you or a loved one had a delayed prostate cancer diagnosis, schedule a free consultation with the Dayton, Ohio cancer lawyers at the O’Keefe Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

There are two tests that are used for early detection of prostate cancer. These are the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to determine if the prostate is hard, lumpy, or enlarged. In addition, a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is used to detect a substance made by the prostate in response to prostate cancer. These tests should be performed in combination, and, although they result in both false positives and false negatives, together they detect about 90 percent of all prostate cancers in their early stages. Failure to use both tests may result in delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer.

If prostate cancer shows symptoms, it has often spread beyond the prostate and may require more aggressive treatment. Here are some symptoms that may indicate prostate cancer:

  • Urinary problems including inability to urinate, weak flow, need to urinate often
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, upper thighs, or hips

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should see your doctor to be screened for prostate cancer.

With so many drugs available to treat some of the symptoms of prostate cancer, a doctor may become distracted and simply prescribe a drug for the symptoms rather than attempt to determine the true cause of your symptoms. Drugs for urinary problems and erectile dysfunction are big business and are aggressively advertised not only to you, but also to doctors. If you reported any of the above symptoms to your doctor and were prescribed medication for the symptom but later discovered you had prostate cancer, this may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Once abnormal results are detected with either your DGE or PSA test, your doctor should follow up with a biopsy to appropriately diagnose prostate cancer. A biopsy is the only accepted test for confirming prostate cancer and should be performed after abnormal DGE or PSA results. In addition, other tests may be performed to determine whether the cancer has spread, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Bone scan
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

If your doctor failed to follow up with either a biopsy or tests to determine whether you cancer had spread, it could have affected your chances of successfully fighting the cancer.

If you had a late prostate cancer diagnosis or lost a loved one as a result of a delayed prostate cancer diagnosis, call or email the prostate cancer attorney at the O’Keefe firm. We have experience dealing with delayed cancer diagnosis cases and can help you understand your legal rights.