One of the most devastating cancer diagnoses is lung cancer. There are numerous ways of detecting and treating it, but sometimes a medical professional commits malpractice by failing to identify lung cancer. When this happens, it’s time to contact an Albany lung cancer malpractice lawyer to protect your rights.

Standard of Care for Diagnosing Lung Cancer

Coughing up blood, or hemoptysis, is the most common symptom of lung cancer. A person coughing up blood is presumed to have lung cancer until proven otherwise.

The accepted protocol for someone coughing up blood consists of imaging studies, like chest x-rays, a bronchoscopy, which views the air passages and lungs to diagnose lung disease – and a chest CAT scan that can determine if a tumor has spread. If someone is diagnosed with lung cancer but the doctor did not conduct these tests despite having reason to, then an Albany lung cancer malpractice attorney could explain your legal options and how to protect your rights.

If somebody is a smoker, the likelihood that they have cancer is much greater than if someone is a non-smoker. The rate of lung cancer diagnosis is high among people who use cigarettes. About 93% of all persons diagnosed with lung cancer are smokers, so there is a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer.

Non-Small Cell and Small-Cell Carcinoma

There are two types of lung cancer – non-small cell and small cell. The only way to find out what type of cancer is present is by doing a biopsy of the abnormal growth that is in the lung. Small-cell carcinoma occurs less frequently than non-small cell carcinoma. Small-cell carcinoma of the lung has a much lower rate of survival than non-small cell.

Doctors will first determine the type of cancer that is present. If possible, the “standard practice of care” consists of a surgical resection where the surgeon removes the tumor and any surrounding lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread.

Typically, after the diagnosis of lung cancer, the patient will also undergo a whole-body PET scan from head to toe. This is usually a combination of a CAT scan and a PET scan that are merged to look for any areas of hypermetabolic activity in the body. Cancer cells crave and thrive on sugar. If there is an area where the body is craving sugar, that shows up on a PET scan as hypermetabolic activity, and that is a potential sign that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. If these signs exist but a medical professional does not follow up on them, a cancer malpractice attorney in Albany could conclude that the doctor may have committed lung cancer malpractice.

When cancer has spread from the lung to other parts of the body, that is what is known as stage four metastatic lung cancer, and at that stage it is rarely curable or survivable.

Discuss Lung Cancer Malpractice with an Albany Attorney

Detecting and treating cancer early is critical. If a medical professional failed in their standard of care and you – or your family members – suffered as a result, contact an Albany lung cancer malpractice lawyer to explain your options and protect your rights.