The revelation that you or a loved one is diagnosed with lung cancer is a life-changing moment that devastates the afflicted family member and their loved ones. Detected early, the disease can be treatable. However, a diagnosis that is delayed or overlooked can result make treatment less effective, particularly if the cancer is in its advanced stages.
The dangers of misdiagnoses
Because initial signs of lung cancer can often be mistaken as a different condition, misdiagnoses can occur. From allergies to COVID-19, countless overlapping medical conditions have symptoms that resemble lung cancer. Chest pain and shortness of breath can be mistaken for another affliction.
Misdiagnoses can arise from:
- Healthcare provider dismissal
- Errors in lab results
- Referral delays
According to a recent study, nearly 40 percent of all medical malpractice claims involved lung cancer. The window of opportunity for more options and an improved prognosis is brief. As specific symptoms worsen, securing a second opinion is best.
Time is of the essence
In the early stages, lung cancer is easier to treat. As time goes on, the rate of survival begins to drop precipitously. A five-year survival rate for stage one can range from 70 percent to 92 percent. Stage 4 can go as low as seven percent.
In addition to medical problems, lung cancer found later can lead to significantly increased medical costs. Once lung cancer reaches stage four, those suffering from the disease will see medical bills up to $21,000 per month because of chemotherapy and other more intensive treatments that often go on for an extended period of time.
Proactive steps can save the lives of people living with lung cancer, provided that medical professionals attend to every detail and ensure the highest standards of care.