Hearing the words “pancreatic cancer” can be shocking and unexpected. There are different types of pancreatic cancers with vastly different outcomes. However, one thing you should expect is that your medical professionals have a “duty of care” they must follow, which is why we trust their judgment to proceed with the correct diagnostic tools and best treatment plan. Unfortunately, there are breaches in the usual “standard of care.” If this occurs while you or your loved ones are in the process of having pancreatic cancer identified, then a cancer malpractice claim is possible and should be considered.

If there was an improper delay in diagnosing your or your loved ones’ cancer, or if it was never diagnosed at all, an Albany pancreatic cancer malpractice lawyer could work with you to file suit for damages.

What Does the Pancreas Do?

The pancreas is a spongy organ about 6 to 10 inches long, shaped like a flat pear and extending horizontally across your abdomen, just behind the stomach. It produces insulin and glucagon, which manages blood sugar and helps digest food.

Symptoms & Testing for Pancreatic Cancer

The most common complaint for most people who develop pancreatic cancer is abdominal pain, which can start as a dull pain in the upper abdomen, but can spread to their back. Other symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Light-colored stool
  • Middle back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting

Often, the pain will come and go until it becomes more frequent, which is when most people see their primary care doctor, who orders blood tests that determine pancreatic function levels.

The two tests are called amylase and lipase, and they can show whether the pancreas is functioning properly. Those tests can also lead to a diagnosis of pancreatitis, which is a condition where the pancreas becomes enflamed, but it is not yet cancerous.

If pancreatic cancer is suspected, an imaging study such as a CAT scan is used to specify where a tumor is located, followed by a biopsy to determine the type of pancreatic cancer.

If a doctor misdiagnoses the cancer as pancreatitis – or vice versa – and you as a patient have suffered injury as a result, it is time to contact an Albany pancreatic cancer malpractice attorney to protect your rights.

If you have been diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor, you will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, plus remove surrounding lymph nodes that can be tested by a biopsy to determine if the cancer has spread.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

There are two types of pancreatic cancer. One type is called pancreatic exocrine cancer, which is much more common and much more lethal than the other type, which is known as pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.

When determining the survival rate of a type of cancer, the medical community typically looks at the five-year outlook from the date of diagnosis. For pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, the five-year survival rate is 53%. The survival rate for the exocrine type is only about 6%. If a misdiagnosis or improper treatment leads to a loved one’s passing, then a family member has the ability to work with an Albany pancreatic cancer malpractice lawyer to file a wrongful death suit.

In almost all cases, the part of the pancreas with a tumor has to be removed surgically. The patient will, in some cases, undergo both chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill the remaining cancer cells that may be present microscopically.

Confer with an Albany Pancreatic Cancer Malpractice Attorney

You have the right to recover compensation for any losses you – or your loved ones – have suffered, including for the cost of medical bills that you would not have incurred otherwise. To learn more about protecting your rights, contact an Albany pancreatic cancer malpractice attorney.