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Orland Park medical malpractice lawyersOne of the most devastating diagnoses someone can ever receive is a cancer diagnosis. However, once a person has been diagnosed with cancer, they can begin treatment. The sooner a patient learns his or her diagnosis, the sooner they can begin exploring their options, speaking with medical experts, and starting down the road to recovery. When cancer is not caught quickly, there is typically a greater chance of the cancer spreading throughout the body. In many cases, an early cancer diagnosis and swift treatment regimen can save someone’s life. However, when a doctor fails to diagnosis cancer or misdiagnoses it as something else, the patient may experience unnecessary pain and suffering and worsened health. The diagnostic mistake may even cost the patient his or her life.

Diagnostic Mistakes Involving Cancer

There are two main types of diagnostic mistakes regarding cancer: failure to property diagnose cancer and diagnosing cancer when the patient does not actually have cancer. More commonly, a person does have cancer but doctors do not take the appropriate steps to recognize and treat the cancer. It is often very difficult to know if a doctor has made a diagnostic error. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are not omniscient. They cannot always know for sure what is wrong with a patient. However, there are some cases where a doctor’s diagnostic mistake constitutes medical negligence.  

Inadequate Testing and Improper Testing May Lead to Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

Some medical tests are able to detect cancer before a patient even exhibits symptoms. Cervical cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer may be detected through various types of scans. However, if a medical professional does not perform the test correctly or misinterprets the scan, a patient with cancer may be told that he or she does not have cancer. Cancer is not always detectable via scans and tests. In cases like these, doctors should use the patient’s symptoms, medical history, and family history to help make a diagnosis.

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Joliet toxic chemical exposure lawyerTo win a product liability lawsuit, you have to prove that the product caused a significant injury and financial loss. When someone is instantly injured by a defective product, as when a child is poisoned by a product with unsafe packaging, it is easy to see the causal connection between the product and the injury. However, when someone is exposed to a product over a long period of time and alleges that the product gave them cancer, the causal connection is much harder to prove. So, how do you prove causation and win compensation for a personal injury when the damage caused by a dangerous product happened over a long period of time? 

Proving Causation in a Long-Term Exposure Lawsuit

Government warnings based on scientific research. Years of research are typically required to prove how a particular chemical affects the human body. Government agencies often fund this research and issue associated warnings and regulations, including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

For example, the EPA classifies benzene, a compound found in petroleum, as a “known human carcinogen” that affects the bone marrow; this classification makes it relatively easy to show causation between exposure to benzene and blood-based cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” it opened the door for litigation against the maker of Roundup weedkiller, which contains glyphosate.

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