Delayed Cancer Treatments Increase Risk of Adverse Outcomes
Posted on January 17, 2024 in Medical Malpractice
When a person has an injury or illness, prompt medical treatment is the priority. This is particularly true for cancer, which is something that requires quick care in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, cancer treatment could be delayed for various reasons, including mistakes made by a healthcare professional. In such a case, the victim may consider contacting a Portland medical malpractice lawyer. Here, we want to examine how delayed cancer treatment can increase the risk of adverse patient outcomes.
Delayed Treatment Often Increases the Likelihood of Death
Information provided through the BJM shows that individuals who receive delayed cancer treatment, even by just one month, could have a 6% to 13% higher risk of death. This risk continues to increase the longer treatment is delayed.
Delayed cancer treatment significantly increases the risk of adverse outcomes for patients. The study from the BMJ highlights that each month of delay in cancer treatment can raise the risk of death by approximately 10%. This heightened risk is associated with several factors:
- Progression of the disease. Cancer cells can multiply rapidly. Delay in treatment allows the cancer to progress to more advanced stages, making it harder to treat effectively.
- Decreased efficacy of treatment. Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are most effective when cancer gets detected and treatment begins quickly. Delays can reduce the chances of these treatments being successful.
- Increased complexity of treatment. Advanced-stage cancers often require more complex treatment strategies, which can be more challenging to administer and may have lower success rates.
- Risk of metastasis. Any delays in cancer treatment increases the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body (metastasis), which can significantly complicate treatment and reduce survival rates.
- Psychological impact. The uncertainty and stress of waiting for treatment can adversely affect a patient’s mental health, which is crucial in coping with and fighting cancer.
- Impact on overall health. The longer cancer treatment is delayed, the greater the chance it has to impact the patient’s overall health, potentially leading to other health complications.
A separate team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed data related to surgical interventions, therapies such as chemotherapy, and radiotherapy on seven different forms of cancer (colon, rectum, lung, cervix, bladder, breast, and head and neck). The study states that together, these cancers represent 44% of all cancer incidence globally. This study also came to the conclusion that delayed cancer treatment significantly increases mortality.
Doctor Timothy Hanna concluded that, “A four week delay in treatment is associated with an increase in mortality across all common forms of cancer treatment, with longer delays being increasingly detrimental. In light of these results, policies focused on minimizing (sic) system level delays in cancer treatment initiation could improve population level survival outcomes.”
Can a Person Receive Compensation for Delayed Cancer Treatment?
Individuals who received delayed treatment for cancer may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit, but only if it can be shown that the delayed treatment was caused by medical provider negligence and that the delay led to the patient sustaining some sort of quantifiable monetary losses.
We strongly encourage individuals to contact a skilled failure to diagnose cancer attorney in Portland who can walk them through this process. Medical malpractice claims are very challenging, and an attorney can examine the facts of your case and help you towards the next step for filing your claim.