Lung Cancer

Lawsuits Around Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer

A medical professional's failure to diagnose lung cancer can be the potential for a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact an attorney.

There are numerous ways in which a failure to diagnose lung cancer can lead to a potential medical malpractice lawsuit. Some potential examples include: 

  • Doctors missing nodular densities in imaging (usually an X-ray or CT Scan)
  • Delays in addressing signs of lung cancer
  • Failure to take necessary diagnostic tests
  • And others

If you feel that a medical professional failed to diagnose your lung cancer and that has caused you harm, you should consult with an attorney about your potential legal options.

It is important to recognize that not every misdiagnosis case is a result of medical malpractice. In order for there to be a potential case, you must be able to prove that the outcome would have been different if the doctor performed within the standard of care. This depends on the facts surrounding your medical care including the stage and type of the cancer, when it should have been diagnosed, and the probable success of treatment.

Medical-Legal Considerations About Colon Cancer

Medical professionals that are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer are most often a primary care physician, radiologist, pulmonologist, thoracic surgeon, and/or oncologist.

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the lungs. The lungs are two organs in your chest that allow you to take in oxygen when you breathe in and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. Generally there are two types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC accounts for about 13% of lung cancers) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC accounts for about 84% of lung cancers).[1] It mainly occurs in older people and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among men and women (almost 25% of all cancer deaths).[2]

  •  Symptoms

Symptoms of lung cancer often do not show up until later stages. Some of the symptoms that show up include: a new cough that doesn't go away, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, hoarseness, losing weigh without trying, bone pain, and headache.[3]

  •  Treatment

There are numerous tests that can help medical professionals diagnose lung cancer. These include imaging tests (X-rays or CT Scans of the lungs), sputum cytology, and tissue samples (biopsy).[4] To treat lung cancer, medical professionals can perform surgery to remove the cancer and surrounding tissue. Different surgeries include wedge resection, segmental resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also methods used to try to kill cancer cells.[5] Stereotactic body radiotherapy, targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care also options medical professionals use depending on how far advanced the lung cancer has gotten.

  •  Survival Rates

The survival rates for lung cancer are significantly higher when a medical professional diagnoses the patient earlier. The 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of non-small cell lung cancer is 60% which means that when the cancer is diagnosed, statistically, people have a 60% of surviving 5 years.[6] However, if the cancer has progressed regionally the survival rate drops to 35% and when it progresses distant it drops to 24%.[7] The 5-year survival rates for small cell lung cancer are much worse. Localized small cell lung cancer has a 5-year survival rate of only 27% which decreases to 16% if it progresses regionally, and 3% if it progresses distant.[8] Treatments for lung cancer improve over time so the outlook for future survival generally get better.

For more information regarding a potential legal case for failure to diagnose lung cancer, call or fill out the form on this website.

Disclaimer: ** Do not take this information as medical advice or knowledge, talk with your doctor regarding your medical care needs. **


[2] Id.



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[8] Id.

If you feel that a medical professional failed to diagnose a medical condition and that has caused you or your family harm, contact Washington Personal Injury Law today about your potential legal options. 


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