What’s the most common type of cancer in the United States? Prostate cancer. The good news is that the survival rate is pretty good. Except when doctors don’t detect it early, or misdiagnose it for something else. Prostate cancer misdiagnosis is the roadblock that keeps many patients from receiving timely, life-saving treatment.
Misdiagnosis of disease often qualifies as medical malpractice. So if you were told your prostate cancer was something else, or vice versa, contact Hampton & King right away to get started on the lawsuit filing process.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the prostate gland. This gland is small, about the size of a walnut. It produces seminal fluid.
Early on, many men don’t experience any symptoms when they have this type of cancer. Other times, they may have pain or difficulty urinating. In the later stages, they might deal with severe pain and sexual disfunction.
These are the most common treatments for prostate cancer:
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. But just 1 in 41 patients pass away from this disease.
The survival rate hinges on two very important factors: timely detection, and timely treatment. To have a fighting chance, you have to attack first, and attack fast. You don’t want to give the cancer an opportunity to grow. Or worse, spread to other parts of the body. This is why prostate cancer misdiagnosis is such a dangerous mistake.
How Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Happens
There are several reasons why cancer misdiagnosis might occur, including:
- Some men don’t have any symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer.
- The prostate is a tiny gland. The cancerous cells may be hard to spot. They might be present in just a small section of the gland.
- Sometimes it’s hard to spot the differences in cell structure that cancer creates. Pathologists have to be highly skilled and meticulous to recognize them.
- Prostate cancer can cause lesions on the bladder. The doctor might see these lesions and diagnose the patient with bladder cancer.
- A doctor fails to provide or recommend routine prostate cancer screening. Most men need routine tests starting at age 55. But some need it earlier if they are at an increased risk. (For example, they have a relative with prostate cancer).
- The physician doesn’t perform or order the right tests. The two tests for diagnosing prostate cancer are the Prostate-specific antigen blood test (PSA) and the Digital rectal exam (DRE). The antigen blood test can be negative even if someone has prostate cancer. So both tests are often necessary to rule out cancer.
- A patient gets suspicious test results, but the doctor doesn’t follow up on them.
Remember, YOU are the best advocate for your health. Ask your doctor questions. Don’t skip your routine tests. If something about your doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t convince you 100%, get a second opinion.
The Dangers of Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis
A doctor who follows the “standard of care” won’t leave any stone unturned when a patient shows signs of cancer. It’s important to arrive at the correct diagnosis. Otherwise, the patient will suffer, or even lose their life. And it all could have been prevented.
On the other hand, doctors need to be 100% sure that a patient has cancer before providing treatment. Cancer treatments are harsh and invasive. For example, radiation therapy causes extreme tiredness and hair loss. Some treatments have side effects that can’t be reversed (like the removal of the prostate gland).
Read on for a terrifying example of what can happen when doctors diagnose a cancer-free patient with prostate cancer.
How Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Changed One Family’s World Forever
Here’s a prostate cancer misdiagnosis story you’ll no doubt find hard to believe. A lab mix-up led to a patient getting his prostate removed—by mistake.
Rickie Huitt went to the doctor for a routine prostate cancer screening. Doctors delivered devastating news: he had cancer. So the 67-year old grandfather underwent an operation to remove his prostate gland. But after the surgery, a pathologist examined the prostate tissue and found it was cancer-free.
What happened here? Who was to blame? As it turns out, a negligent employee had swapped a different patient’s sample slides with Huitt’s. So not only did Huitt lose his prostate, the other patient lost precious time when he could have received treatment.
The mess means that Huitt has to live with debilitating side effects for the rest of his life. His wife says the ordeal has changed the family’s world forever. Huitt has urinary incontinence. He has to use two to three urine-absorbing pads a day.
Also, the operation damaged some nerves, leaving him impotent. The couple’s once active love life is now impaired.
Suing for Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis
So they hired a medical malpractice legal team and took the Iowa clinic and the offending pathologist to court. They asked for $15 million in damages.
The clinic admitted their error. But they never apologized. And they wanted to pay as little as possible. Their lawyer asked the jury to award Huitt just $750,000.
Who “won” you might ask? At the end of the trial, the jury awarded Huitt $12.25 million. Not the full amount, but much more than the clinic’s measly offering.
Do you believe you or your loved one was harmed because of a prostate cancer misdiagnosis? You may be able to recover compensation for the following items:
- Loss of wages
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Long-term care expenses
- Loss of quality of life
- Losing companionship (due to impotence)
What to Do When You’ve Been Misdiagnosed
Did you recently find out that your doctors made a mistake? The first thing you need to do is contact a lawyer. Find a law firm specializing in medical malpractice. Ask if they have experience with cases of prostate cancer misdiagnosis.
You have a much greater chance of obtaining justice and compensation when you hire legal help. Why? Because law firms have access to medical experts who can help you prove that your doctors committed negligence. They will use their expertise and experience to fight on your behalf. They will help you get your hands on important medical records that will shed light on your doctor’s mistakes.
Learning you’ve been misdiagnosed is crushing. It’s news that no one wants to hear. But the good news is that help is available–and it’s risk free. Hampton & King provides compassionate representation on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not charge a fee unless we win your case.
Set up a free consultation with us today. You may be just a phone call away from obtaining justice for your prostate cancer misdiagnosis.