The Law Offices of John Phebus

World Cancer Day highlights need for early diagnosis

Arizona medical professionals understand the benefits of early cancer detection and treatment. On World Cancer Day in early February, the World Health Organization took the opportunity to promote greater efforts globally to find cancer in its early stages and provide treatment.

According to the WHO report, lost productivity and health care costs attributable to the disease equaled about $1.16 trillion around the world in 2010. Every year, cancer afflicts approximately 14 million people and kills about 8.8 million people. It has been estimated that by 2030, more than 21 million people will be affected by the disease,

An expert on chronic diseases cited in the report said that people survive more often and experience lower costs for treatment when physicians find cancer early. This is especially the case for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers. Treatment methods for early cancers often allow people to continue going to work and supporting their households, and they generally cost less than extensive treatments for advanced cancer. A timely diagnosis leading to aggressive treatment can thus often result in significantly less financial and physical harm.

A physician's failure to diagnose a person with cancer in a timely manner will likely result in a worsened medical condition that in many cases will prove to be fatal. The surviving family members of a patient who died as a result of the disease not being detected in time may want to meet with an attorney in order to see what legal recourse may be available to them. Not every such failure is necessarily medical malpractice, however. The attorney will need to demonstrate that the physician or facility failed to exercise the requisite standard of care and will endeavor to do so through the opinion testimony of one or more medical experts.

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