Jeffrey H. Dover
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Atlanta Auto Accident and Medical Malpractice Attorney
More than 1.5 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2010, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society. A portion of those men and women were diagnosed with cancers at late stages, after the disease went undiagnosed for a period of time.

There are many dangers of a cancer going undiagnosed, including increased likelihood of the cancer undergoing metastasis and spreading. Treatment options which are particularly effective for cancers caught in the earliest stages may prove to be ineffective once late stages, such as stage IV, have been reached. This means the cancer has spread to one or more distant areas of the body.

Ways of avoiding a delayed cancer diagnosis include:
  • Talking with your doctor. Regular visits to the doctor are recommended and establishing a schedule of annual cancer screenings with your doctor may help detect cancer in its earlier stages.
  • Discussing further action. If screening tests are administered and the results indicate the need for further testing, be sure that it gets done. Many delayed cancer diagnoses are due in part to inadequate follow-up to an initial diagnostic test.
  • Knowing your family history. If your family has a history of cancer, and especially if a certain cancer is prevalent, this information is important. Doctors should ask you about this, but if they fail to do so, be sure to relay any history of cancer in your family to him or her.
  • Being proactive. Avoid risk factors for cancer that you can control, such as smoking, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with cancer, bring them to your doctor's attention immediately.
A doctor's failure to diagnose cancer can occur for many reasons and may be due to medical negligence on behalf of a medical professional.
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