Allergies. Just seasonal allergies. That’s why you have this chronic cough. There’s nothing to worry about. That’s what one doctor says.
Allergies? No. I’m pretty sure you have gastric reflux. That’s what explains your persistent coughing. Says another.
But who are you to believe? Gina Hollenbeck, a nurse, sought out answers herself. After lots of insistence and paying for a chest x-ray herself, Hollenbeck did find out her answer. And it wasn’t the one any doctor gave her. Her coughing wasn’t because of allergies. Or gastric reflux. After two months of getting the run-around from doctors, Gina learned she had lung cancer. Stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to the brain, to be exact.
Gina’s cancer could have been caught early on. She could have started treatment before ever reaching stage 4. She could have been cancer-free much quicker. But doctors misdiagnosing her and brushing off her concerns made her outlook very bleak. Although Gina is now cancer-free, she still has to undergo therapy to keep it that way.
Have you ever felt like doctors were brushing off your very real concerns? Taking your symptoms as something much less severe? We understand that’s a terrible position to be put in. And here at Hampton & King, we believe medical professionals should be held accountable for such mistakes. A misdiagnosis could be the difference between life and death. Contact us today if you have experienced lung cancer misdiagnosis.
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What Is Lung Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells begin growing abnormally. These abnormal cells then multiply and can form into tumors. These cancerous cells and tumors spread to nearby tissue and other parts of the body and attack.
When cells begin to grow abnormally in the lungs, it is known as lung cancer. This cancer can further spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain.
The Severity Of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is responsible for the most amount of cancer deaths in the United States. Each year, over 230,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer. And of those living with the disease, the 5 year survival rate is only 21% between men and women.
Who’s At Risk?
Certain individuals are predisposed to lung cancer. Some risk factors can be avoided while others cannot be controlled.
Here are some risk factors for lung cancer:
Smoking. Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, about 80% of all lung cancer cases can be attributed to smoking tobacco.
Secondhand Smoking. Breathing in smoke of others nearby can also lead to lung cancer.
Radon/Asbestos Exposure. Working with asbestos and/or exposure to radon makes an individual much more likely to develop lung cancer.
Arsenic In Drinking Water. Some people in rural areas are exposed to arsenic in their drinking water. This increases the risk for lung cancer.
Previous Radiation Therapy. If you underwent radiation therapy for a previous cancer, you are more likely to develop lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Sometimes lung cancer can go undetected for quite some time. As the condition progresses, more symptoms might show up.
Some of the main symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A persistent cough that doesn’t go away after a few weeks
- A cough that gets worse
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Pain when breathing or coughing
- Continuous infections in the chest
- Running out of breath easily/shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Many diseases, conditions, and infections share some of these symptoms. That’s why it is imperative doctors rule out the possibility of lung cancer before diagnosing.
Because many pneumonia symptoms overlap with those of lung cancer, several patients are misdiagnosed with pneumonia.
Pneumonia. Not Lung Cancer
While lung cancer is the multiplication of abnormal lung cells, pneumonia is an infection of lung cells. This infection is caused by a virus or bacteria that enters the body.
Some of the most common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
If you remember, these are all also symptoms of lung cancer. That’s why so many lung cancers are misdiagnosed as pneumonia. Especially in younger individuals. However, there are certain symptoms that don’t usually show up in patients with pneumonia. They are exclusively lung cancer symptoms. These may include unexplained weight loss, high calcium levels, or low potassium.
If you’ve been diagnosed with pneumonia but you continue to contract infections, you might want to speak to a doctor about lung cancer.
Other Diseases Lung Cancer Is Commonly Misdiagnosed As
Lung cancer misdiagnosed as pneumonia is by far the most common misdiagnosis. There are several other diseases and conditions that doctors mistake lung cancer for.
- Acid Reflux
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Thoracic Hodgkin’s Disease
Filing A Claim Against Your Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis
Being told you have a certain condition when you have lung cancer can be very dangerous. Instead of beginning necessary treatment, your disease might be progressing into a more severe stage. If your doctor brushed off your concerns or mishandled your disease, you might be entitled to compensation.
But first, you’ll have to file a claim. In order to file a claim, you must prove negligence. You must show your injury, pain, or any part of your illness could have been avoided if your physician handled your case properly.
You’ll want to have all the preparation by your side. When it comes to proving medical malpractice, there’s no such thing as too much evidence. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- All your medical records. This includes any or all tests, x-rays, and scans.
- Your bills. Of course you’ll want to be compensated for all the unnecessary medical bills you had to pay. That’s why having a record of your payments and all receipts is a good idea.
- Any medications.
Contact An Experienced Attorney
There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a medical malpractice case. If you wish to be compensated and win your case, having an experienced lawyer by your side is a good idea. The attorneys at Hampton & King have handled many medical malpractice cases, including lung disease misdiagnosis cases.
Most medical malpractice cases have a strict statute of limitations. You may only have 2 years to file your claim. Of course it depends upon the state you live in, but don’t wait.
You Have Rights. Contact Us Today
If your doctor misdiagnosed your lung cancer, it most likely had huge consequences on your health. Whether that means unnecessary medical bills piling up, worsening condition, or even an injury, lung cancer misdiagnosis is not okay. A misdiagnosis can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.
Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation. We can help you determine if you have a malpractice case or not. And if you do, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.