New York, NY — Around 1 in 9 men will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer during their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer among men. (To put that number into context: 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.)
Each year, there are approximately 174,000 new prostate cancer diagnoses in the United States, and it results in nearly 31,000 annual deaths. “Prostate cancer is highly treatable, and most men diagnosed with it survive, but how can it be prevented if a doctor fails to diagnose it?” says Reiter, a prominent New York City medical malpractice lawyer.
Oncologists use a figure called the five-year survival rate to assist in the prognosis of different forms of cancer. The five-year survival rate, a number that indicates the percentage of patients diagnosed with a particular condition that are still alive five years after their diagnosis, is 100% in local or regional cases of prostate cancer. But when cancer spreads to other parts of the body, this number plummets to 30%. The later the diagnosis, the more likely cancer has spread to remote parts of the body.
Health experts and cancer prevention guidelines recommend that men receive a prostate cancer screening from a primary care doctor or urologist every two to four years starting at the age of 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer and men of African-American descent are at higher risk for prostate cancer and should discuss receiving an earlier screening with their doctor.
Because prostate cancer is rare in men under age 40, some doctors may dismiss the possibility entirely. When they fail to test for it, a patient’s long-term health and well-being can suffer an irreversible impact. In extreme cases, a missed diagnosis can even lead to death.
It’s important to note that not every man with prostate cancer will exhibit symptoms. This is what makes it critical to be screened for the disease at regular intervals.
When a doctor misdiagnoses or delays a prostate cancer diagnosis, patients may suffer unnecessary physical pain and emotional anguish, including permanent loss of sexual function due to aggressive treatment, scarring, removal of organs, and even death. An early diagnosis can also keep a patient’s medical expenses low.
Men who have suffered a missed or delayed diagnosis of their prostate cancer may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries and other damages suffered. This is why it’s important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer who has an established history of handling cases in the area of medical misdiagnosis and medical malpractice.