Male patients are likely to have a lack of understanding of prostate cancer, their own chances for the cancer, and the ways in which they can figure out whether they have prostate cancer. Many men have minimal, if any, knowledge of the worth of testing for prostate cancer or of the recommendations for when to begin testing, how often to screen, and the meaning of screening test results. These men just place their faith in their doctor to let them know what they should do to stay healthy.
There are several different circumstances that can lead to a delayed diagnosis. A typical medical error that is at the root of these cases occurs when a man’s family doctor (1) screens the patient for prostate cancer by checking the amount of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) in his bloodstream, (2) notices abnormally high levels of PSA and but (3) does not notify the patient, does not refer the patient to a urologist, and fails to get a biopsy to determine if the elevated PSA from prostate cancer. Consider the following case, for instance:
In this reported case a man found out he had prostate cancer after he followed up when told by his internist that he most likely had cancer. The issue in this case was that the internist did not tell the patient that he could have cancer until the third year of elevated PSA test results. The year before the man’s PSA level had risen to 13.6. Two years prior to that it had been at 8.0 During these years the doctor did nothing to rule out prostate cancer as the cause of these elevated readings and did not tell the patient. By the time he was diagnosed he had advanced prostate cancer and surgery was no longer among the treatment alternatives. Treating physicians alternatively recommended radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Neither of these would cure the cancer but they might slow the cancers progress and additional spread. The law firm handling this matter published that the claim went to mediation and settled for $ 600,000.
But doing nothing after noting abnormal test results creates a situation in which those patients who do actually have prostate cancer may not discover they have it until it has spread outside the prostate, restricting the patients choices for treatment, and significantly lessening the possibility that the patient will be able to survive the cancer.
As the above claim demonstrates doctors sometimes comply with the guidelines screening for prostate cancer yet when the test results are abnormal they do not follow through.
Joseph Hernandez is an attorney accepting medical malpractice cases. To learn about prostate cancer and other cancer matters including colon cancer visit the websites