Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis of Cancer

June 12, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis of Cancer

Cancer Misdiagnosis Can be Catastrophic

When a healthcare provider fails to diagnose cancer or misdiagnoses cancer, then the consequences go beyond the typical injuries born of this kind of negligence. Any delay in the identification and treatment of cancer can reduce the effectiveness of treatment and possibly kill a patient. When a patient has to go through the traumatic realization that their chances at beating cancer could have been better had a doctor not been negligent, they will want to hold the liable parties responsible, as they should. If someone has suffered because of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of diagnose cancer, then they have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible in a medical malpractice claim.

Diagnosing Cancer

It's important to understand how cancer is detected in the first place when discussing its misdiagnosis. Cancer has been a source of tragedy for as long as anyone can remember but thankfully, modern medicine has given us many techniques and technologies to help detect and treat cancer. While these techniques and technologies have significantly improved our ability to fight cancer, healthcare providers are still human and can act negligently resulting in harm to patients. 

Diagnosis Through Cancer Screening and Tests

The first line of defense against cancer is the series of screenings and tests that doctors perform. Certain demographics are much more at risk for certain kinds of disease than others like men being at risk for prostate cancer and women having a higher risk for breast cancer. Doctors provide different tests for different cancers that are administered depending on a patient's risk factor that is affected by age, gender, medical history, family medical, history, etc. Different tests can include:
  • Mammogram
  • Colonoscopy
  • Prostate Exam
  • Biopsy
  • Electrocardiagram (EKG)/ Echocardiagram (ECG)
  • Pap Test
  • Endoscopy


An integral part of detecting cancer is the use of radiology in its advanced medical imaging devices and technique. Radiology is the science of using medical imaging to detect and sometimes treat diseases. These medical imaging devices are often integral to detection thanks to their ability to noninvasively look into the human body. Some of the most common radiology medical imaging tests include:

How is Cancer Misdiagnosed?

Often times, many of the tests that should be periodically performed upon patients at risk for cancer are not done or are done incorrectly. The reasons for this can vary from a doctor simply being negligent due to an oversight or sometimes because of outright medical error. The bottom line is that despite the accuracy and effectiveness of much cancer screening, it always falls upon human doctors to diagnose cancer and humans are naturally prone to all kinds of error. It should be made clear that cancer has shown that it is a tricky disease to accurately diagnose. Many studies have been performed where several different doctors have given varying diagnoses on the same simulated cancer patient's test results. Doctors also have to base their diagnosis on symptoms that can be interpreted as belonging to another disease which leads to misdiagnosis. Some estimates put rates of cancer misdiagnosis up as high as 20%. Misdiagnosis ranks among the highest forms of medical malpractice in the country and yet not much is being done about this enormous problem. Cancer misdiagnosis is still surprisingly common and harms people that otherwise could have had better chances at fighting it.

Different Forms of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Failure to Diagnose Cancer: The cancer is not detected through screening and tests or even symptoms. Wrong Diagnosis of Cancer: The cancer is diagnosed as the wrong health condition entirely. Misclassified Cancer: The cancer is incorrectly classified as another type of cancer.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Malpractice Claims

When a healthcare provider fails to properly diagnose cancer, the damage can be beyond the scope of a normal form of malpractice. Cancer patients often undergo some of the most painful treatment and injury from cancer in both physical and emotional ways. Their avoidable suffering deserves compensation which is why misdiagnosed cancer patients have the right to file medical malpractice claims. In order to file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor for misdiagnosing cancer, a plaintiff has to be able to satisfy several criteria. They must be able to prove the misdiagnosis led to the injury. This should not be too much of an issue since cancer misdiagnosis almost always has serious ramifications for someone's health that are well documented.

Doctor Negligence and Cancer Misdiagnosis

The misdiagnosis must be due to the doctor or healthcare provider's negligence. You cannot file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor that misdiagnosed cancer for reasons that were beyond their control like if they received the wrong information or if the testing equipment malfunctioned. In that case, the liability would shift to someone else. The doctor or healthcare provider would be negligent if they violated the expected standard of care. For example. If a doctor decided that you did not need an MRI after displaying cancer symptoms while other doctors would order one, then they would likely be found to be negligent.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Damages

The level of damages that a misdiagnosed cancer patient can experience is staggering. Cancer is well known for its mortality rate depending on the type but also for how it can inflict life-altering injury to the body and mind. The amount that a person can expect to receive in a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit over misdiagnosis is dependant on the damages they claim. The worse the damages, the greater the compensation. In the case of cancer, this tends to result in especially large settlements or case rewards which also means a case that can meet more resistance since the stakes are much higher. Different kinds of damages one can seek compensation for in a cancer misdiagnosis malpractice claim include:
  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Disability
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Rehabilitation/Therapy

Seek an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one believe that negligence in the form of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose contributed to the development of a health condition, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has been serving the people of Florida for years by helping to ensure that those who are medically negligent are held responsible for their extremely damaging actions. Our lawyers have the experience, skills, and resources that you will need to make sure that your case has the best chance possible at attaining you the maximum amount of compensation possible. When it comes to fees, our medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means that they take their fee out of the compensation they get you once the case is over. If they fail to get you a settlement or win your case, then they do not get paid. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA serves all of Florida with emphasis on locations such as: Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Miami, Doral, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton. No matter where our lawyers will sit down with you to discuss your options for getting you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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