Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer: Impact on Survival

A Comprehensive Guide to the Literature for Personal Injury Lawyers

Publisher: Medifocus Legal
Publication Date: August 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 123

It is well recognized that early diagnosis of cancer generally increases the likelihood for successful treatment and also increases the chances of survival. Conversely, delays in the diagnosis of cancer is typically associated with late-stage presentation and more advanced disease, the need for more aggressive treatments that can lead to side-effects and potentially serious complications, and a lower likelihood for survival.

Even in cases where cancer is diagnosed in a timely manner, the time from initial diagnosis to initiation of cancer therapy can have a significant impact on survival. From a retrospective study of nearly 3.7 million patient records, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that newly diagnosed cancer patients who waited longer before starting cancer treatment had a worse outcome than those with shorter intervals between diagnosis and the initiation of treatment. In this study, longer delays between diagnosis and the initiation of treatment were associated with poorer overall survival for breast, lung, kidney, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.

Cases of delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnosis are surprisingly common even in the era of modern medicine, with a reported incidence of ranging from 10% to 20%. When it comes to cancer, however, a delay or misdiagnosis can lead to devastating consequences for patients and their families. Common factors that can result in delayed or missed diagnosis of cancer include:

  • Ignoring a patient’s symptoms or risk factors
  • Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Misinterpreting diagnostic test results
  • Failure to communicate test results to patients or other health care providers.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit arising from delayed or misdiagnosis of cancer, the plaintiff must prove that a doctor acted negligently by breaching the standard of care in failing to diagnose the cancer and must also prove the negligence caused forseeable harm to the patient. Essentially, in these types of cases, the standard of care revolves around the issue of how quickly a reasonably competent physician would have properly diagnosed the patient’s cancer.

Over the past two decades, a significant body of literature has been published regarding the delayed diagnosis and treatment of many types of cancers including breast, lung, prostate, bladder, kidney, ovarian, thyroid, and skin. The MediFocus Literature Guide to Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer captures the salient articles published on this topic and focuses on the causes and factors that contribute to delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment and its impact on survival. The Guide includes nearly 190 journal article references with hyperlinks to the article abstracts and also includes a valuable Author Directory for quickly identifying experts in this specific subject area. The Guide will be a valuable addition to the library of any personal injury attorney whose scope of practice includes litigating cases arising from the delayed diagnosis and treatment of a cancer condition.

Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer: Impact on Survival is a one-of-a-kind literature reference Guide that includes:

  • A comprehensive bibliography of 222 journal article references indexed in MEDLINE published in well respected medical and scientific journals.
  • Online access to the abstracts (summaries) of the articles.
  • A unique “Author Directory” consisting of the names and institutional affiliations of experts who have published and have specialized knowledge about Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer: Impact on Survival. The “Author Directory” is a valuable resource for quickly identifying and locating experts for case reviews, opinions, and testimony.

Select examples of topics that are covered by the articles referenced in this Guidebook include:

  • Delay to Colectomy and Survival for Patients Diagnosed with Colon Cancer.
  • Timing and Delays in Breast Cancer Evaluation and Treatment.
  • Delays in definitive cervical cancer treatment: An analysis of disparities and overall survival impact.
  • A Method for Estimating the Risk Associated with Delaying Initial Treatment in Breast Cancer.
  • Prostate cancer outcomes and delays in care.
  • Effect of diagnostic delay on survival in patients with colorectal cancer: a retrospective cohort study.
  • Delay in cutaneous melanoma diagnosis: Sequence analyses from suspicion to diagnosis in 211 patients.
  • Impact of delays in definitive treatment on overall survival: a National Cancer Database study of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Delays for diagnosis and treatment of lung cancers: a systematic review.
  • Delay in chemotherapy administration impacts survival in elderly patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
  • Effect of treatment delay on survival in patients with cervical cancer.
  • Treatment delay in surgically-treated colon cancer: does it affect outcomes?
  • Delays in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer: a multinational analysis.
  • Influence of delays in diagnosis and treatment on survival in small cell lung cancer patients.
  • Do diagnostic and treatment delays for colorectal cancer increase risk of death?
  • Impact of delay in diagnosis on survival to head and neck carcinomas.
  • Diagnostic delay of breast cancer – an analysis of claims to Swedish Board of Malpractice
  • Delay in diagnosis and treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
  • Delays in diagnosis and bladder cancer mortality.
  • Breast implants and cancer: causation, delayed detection, and survival.
The MediFocus Literature Guide on Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer: Impact on Survival
is available in two formats:

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