After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. Prostate cancer is more common in older men (greater than age 50). However, most prostate cancers that are timely treated will not affect the length of one’s life. In other words, most men die with prostate cancer but not from it.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
1) a frequent urge or inability to urinate, or waking more frequently to urinate;
2) trouble starting or holding back urine flow;
3) frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs; or
4) painful ejaculation or trouble having an erection
When a doctor does not diagnose a patient’s prostate cancer on a timely basis, the patient’s life is at stake. A misdiagnosis can delay treatment causing the cancer to spread. Often, by the time serious symptoms become apparent, it is too late to treat the cancer successfully. The patient may be terminally ill because the window for catching and responding to the disease has closed. Patients or loved ones of patients who have suffered a delay in diagnosing prostate cancer can file a prostate cancer lawsuit. Therefore, early detection is crucial. Below are the primary methods for diagnosing prostate cancer:
1) Physical Exam. If a doctor suspects a patient may have prostate cancer, the first step is to ask about medical history and performing a physical exam. The doctor will conduct a digital rectal exam (DRE) to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate. The doctor may also order a transrectal ultrasound. If any irregularities are detected, further testing is warranted. If your doctor did not perform a DRE or ultrasound, it may have prevented appropriate diagnosis.
2) PSA Blood Test. Known as the test for detecting prostate cancer early, the PSA blood test is one of the first screenings done for men who have any prostate cancer symptoms. High numbers indicate a higher likelihood of prostate cancer. If your doctor did not conduct PSA blood testing despite warning signs for prostate cancer, or if he or she conducted the test but disregarded high numbers, you may have a case of prostate cancer malpractice.
3) Prostate Biopsy. If PSA blood testing and/or a DRE show potential for prostate cancer, this biopsy is necessary to find out if cancer is at work. If a prostate biopsy could have confirmed a cancer diagnosis but your doctor did not order one, you might need to consult with an attorney.
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced in these claims and can help you understand your legal options, and whether you or someone you love who suffered a delay in treatment as a result of medical malpractice. If you have questions you can contact us at 215-568-6800.