The failure to properly diagnose stomach cancer or any cancer in a timely manner equates to medical malpractice, and can have significant consequences for the patient.
There are certain standards of care a healthcare provider must meet in treating patients, especially when evaluating a patient relative to a potential diagnosis of cancer. In particular, a healthcare provider must be aware of and recognize the signs and symptoms which might be indicative of stomach cancer.
Early signs and symptoms of stomach cancer can include but are not limited to poor appetite, abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, blood in the stool and unexpected weight loss. In light of these symptoms a healthcare provider should order additional tests in a timely fashion to rule out cancer.
Such testing may include an endoscopy, where a thin, lighted tube with a video camera is put down a patient’s throat/esophagus allows a doctor to see structures including the lining of the esophagus, and the stomach. If there are abnormalities, tissue samples may be taken (biopsy) to determine if the suspect lesion is cancerous or a precursor to cancer.
According to The American Cancer Society, there will be about 22,220 cases of stomach cancer diagnosed in 2014. Approximately 10,990 people will die of stomach cancer this year. Those who will have the best chance of surviving stomach cancer are the patients who receive early diagnosis and treatment.
Without early treatment, stomach cancer can spread to other areas of the body. This is called metastases. As it evolves from stage one to stage four, stomach cancer becomes less curable and requires more complex treatment.
Healthcare providers need to:
- Review the patient’s family history of stomach and other cancers;
- Ask about the patient’s symptoms and recognize their significance;
- Order tests in a timely fashion and communicate test results to the patient; and
- Make appropriate and timely referral of the patient to required specialists.
If you or a loved one has suffered adverse health effects because your doctor failed to diagnose stomach cancer or any other cancer, please research your legal options which should include contacting an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorney. Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari has handled voluminous claims surrounding failures in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Please call us for an evaluation of your potential claim at no cost to you or your family.