After not feeling right for a few weeks, your doctor still couldn't find a reason why. You endured numerous diagnoses and treatments that ended up not being right. You began to insist that your doctor conduct more tests to figure out what was wrong with you.
Even as you felt a sense of relief to learn what was actually wrong, you were devastated to find out that you have cancer. Then you may discover your doctor could have found your cancer earlier, and your prognosis would have been better. Unfortunately, this happens more often than anyone would like to admit.
Symptoms that may require more investigation
It's possible that the symptoms that took you to the doctor in the first place may have come from the following list:
- A persistent sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent indigestion
- A change in bladder or bowel habits
- Persistent headaches
- Repeated infections
- Unusual discharge or bleeding
- Persistent low-grade fever
- Lumps or thickening in testicles, breasts, etc.
- Persistent fatigue
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Obvious changes in moles, mouth sores or warts
- Nagging hoarseness or a cough
- Chronic bone pain
- Coughing up blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained loss of appetite
As you can see, any number of illnesses could cause any of these symptoms. In order to be sure that your symptoms are not an indication of cancer, your doctor should order further testing.
A doctor's duty to diagnose
Your doctor owes you a duty of care. Part of that duty is to take the appropriate measures in order to determine your condition. For example, if you can't get rid of a cough, a chest x-ray could reveal that it's more than an irritation. While most people would love to lose a few pounds, if you aren't doing anything to cause it (i.e. haven't changed your eating or exercise habits) that should be a red flag for your doctor.
With the advances in medicine that have taken place in recent years, catching cancer early saves lives. If your doctor fails to take your concerns seriously, you could lose that precious advantage.
A case for medical malpractice
If you question whether your doctor should have diagnosed your condition sooner, you may benefit from discussing the circumstances with an attorney. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex. As you deal with your health issues, some with experience in these claims can advocate with you to help you pursue the compensation you deserve if a medical error led to you not receiving a timely diagnosis of your cancer.