Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer
Prostate cancer misdiagnosis may allow undetected cancer to spread or cause a patient to receive unnecessary treatment. Misdiagnosis of prostate cancer may be the result of medical malpractice. If you have been harmed by a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer at Levin & Perconti may be able to help you recover significant compensation.
When a patient with prostate cancer is misdiagnosed with another condition, the disease may progress to an advanced stage with limited treatment options, reducing the quality of life and survival odds. A false positive prostate cancer diagnosis may result in severe mental anguish and permanent harm from unnecessary treatment.
A prostate cancer misdiagnosis may result from a medical error by a health care provider. If a prostate cancer misdiagnosis has harmed you, our medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help you hold the negligent doctor accountable.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men after skin cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which estimates that 288,300 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2023.
Despite its prevalence, diagnostic errors abound in prostate cancer cases, causing patients to experience severe emotional distress, unnecessary medical treatment, worsened health outcomes, and death.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland in men that produces fluid for the production of semen. It is situated below the bladder in front of the rectum. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells fail to die as new cells are formed, resulting in tumors. Cancer that begins in the prostate is known as prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled the following prostate cancer statistics for the state of Illinois for the year 2019:
- 114.2 of every 100,000 men in Illinois were diagnosed with prostate cancer. This is a total of 8,788 men.
- 1,208 men died of prostate cancer.
- The rate of prostate cancer in Illinois was higher than the national rate of 112 new cases per 100,000.
- The rate of prostate cancer is higher among non-Hispanic black men at a rate of 175.7 per 100,000.
- 1,553 black men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- 284 black men died of prostate cancer.
- The death rate of Illinois black men due to prostate cancer is 40.5 per 100,000 compared to 17 per 100,000 for white men.
- Hispanic men had a significantly lower occurrence of prostate cancer and related deaths than white men.
- Asian men had the lowest rates of prostate cancer and deaths.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, approximately one of every eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes.
How Often Does Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Occur?
Prostate cancer misdiagnosis is notoriously common. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, overdiagnosis of prostate cancer occurs in up to 50.4 percent of prostate cancer diagnoses.
Why Is Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosed So Often?
The medical community faces a dilemma regarding prostate cancer misdiagnosis and screening.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, approximately 10 to 15 percent of prostate cancer cases involve aggressive cancer that spreads beyond the prostate. The remaining 85 to 90 percent of prostate malignancies are unlikely to grow or cause problems. Treatment is generally contraindicated in these cases.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer may be suspected when routine screening results are abnormal. The two primary prescreening methods include prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, tests and digital rectal exams.
A PSA test is a blood test that checks for elevations in a specific protein made by the prostate. The most common type of prostate cancer generally raises this level. However, the PSA level may be elevated for various reasons other than cancer. As a result, this is not a definitive test.
A digital rectal exam allows a doctor to feel the prostate gland to determine if any tumors are present. This method is less effective than the PSA test in identifying cancer, but it can detect rare forms of prostate cancer that do not raise the PSA level.
If screening test results are abnormal, a doctor should investigate further. According to the American Cancer Society, a doctor can order more specific PSA tests, such as a percent-free PSA test, which measures the PSA that circulates in the blood unattached to blood proteins. This is generally lower in people with cancer. Other more specific PSA tests include the following:
- PSA velocity test, which determines how fast PSA rises over time, with faster results being associated with a higher risk of cancer
- PSA density test
- Transrectal ultrasound
A biopsy is the only method that can definitively determine whether you have prostate cancer, but it is invasive. It involves collecting a small tissue sample from the suspected cancerous area of the prostate for viewing under a microscope.
A primary care provider should refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist, for advanced testing if initial screening tests are abnormal.
Conditions that May Be Confused with Prostate Cancer
According to Radiographics, the following conditions may cause abnormal test results while screening for prostate cancer:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia – an enlarged prostate gland, a fairly common condition as men age
- Bulky anterior fibromuscular stroma – A normal structure located near the prostate gland that is more prominent in some men, resulting in an appearance of an enlarged prostate gland
- The surgical capsule – A band of fibrous muscular tissue that supports the prostate and may appear as a tumor in some imaging tests
- The central zone – A section of the prostate gland that changes in appearance as men age and can be mistaken for cancer on imaging tests when health care providers are not thoroughly familiar with its normal appearances
- Prominent periprostatic veins – Blood vessels in the prostate gland that become larger than usual due to variations in blood flow
- Periprostatic lymph nodes – Uncommon occurrences that are malignant 15 percent of the time
- Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate gland
- Atrophy of the prostate gland – Gradual reduction of prostate tissue
- Necrosis of the prostate gland – Death of prostate tissue
- Calcification of the prostate – Prostate stones, often a complication of prostatitis
- Hemorrhage – Bleeding in the prostate, often after a biopsy
Is Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis a Form of Medical Malpractice?
Misdiagnosis alone does not constitute medical malpractice. To be considered malpractice, the misdiagnosis must stem from negligence by a health care provider, and you must be able to show that you suffered injuries because of the misdiagnosis.
Injuries Caused by Misdiagnosed Prostate Cancer
When prostate cancer is misdiagnosed, and you have an aggressive form of the disease, cancer can spread to other parts of the body. It becomes very difficult to treat at this point. According to the American Cancer Society, patients with advanced prostate cancer have a five-year survival rate of just 32 percent.
With a timely diagnosis of cancer confined to the prostate gland and the surrounding area, the survival rate is more than 99 percent.
Injuries caused by a misdiagnosis of prostate cancer may include the following:
- The need for more aggressive treatment
- Increased complications from treatment, including incontinence and erectile dysfunction
- Longer treatment and recovery time
- More expensive treatment
- Lost wages
- A shorter life expectancy
- Premature death
Common Errors When Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
The more familiar a doctor is with how the prostate gland and the surrounding areas appear on various imaging tests, the more likely you will receive a timely, accurate diagnosis. A prudent, qualified clinician will understand the changes and variations that can occur due to age, changes in blood flow, and other factors.
This is why primary care providers should consult with or refer patients to urologists and oncologists rather than attempt a diagnosis alone.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, our cancer misdiagnosis lawyers have successfully proven medical malpractice based on the following errors:
- Failure to perform screening tests for high-risk patients
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to consider individual characteristics
- Failure to refer or consult
- Failure to complete an accurate patient medical history
- Failure to obtain informed consent
If your doctor did not inform you of the risks and benefits of pursuing treatment, you may have been denied an opportunity to make an informed decision about your health care. This also constitutes negligence by the doctor.
What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society. the primary risk factors for prostate cancer are as follows:
- Age – Prostate cancer is more common in men older than 50, especially after age 65.
- Race – Black men are the most likely to develop prostate cancer and die from it, and they often develop it at younger ages. It is least common in Asian, Hispanic, and Latino men.
- Family History – Men with a brother or father with prostate cancer have double the risk of developing it themselves.
- Genetics – Genetic conditions predisposing people to cancer, including Lynch syndrome and BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Types of Prostate Cancer
The most common type of prostate cancer is glandular prostate cancer, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. This type occurs in the cell linings surrounding the prostate.
The Sub-Types of Glandular Prostate Cancer
Conventional adenocarcinoma is the most common sub-type of glandular prostate cancer. It is a slow-growing tumor that begins in the back of the prostate near the rectum. This sub-type increases PSA levels and can be felt by a doctor during a digital rectal exam. It is also known as acinar adenocarcinoma.
Prostatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a rare, aggressive sub-type of glandular prostate cancer that develops in the linings surrounding the tubes and ducts of the prostate gland. It may develop at the same time as conventional adenocarcinoma. It does not always increase PSA levels, making it harder to detect.
Rare Types of Prostate Cancer
Several other types of prostate cancer exist, but they are all very rare. These types include the following:
- Transitional cell carcinoma – Starts in the urethra or bladder and spreads to the prostate or vice-versa
- Neuroendocrine tumors, or carcinoids – Appear in the nerve and gland cells that make hormones and release them into the bloodstream
- Small cell carcinoma – The most aggressive type of neuroendocrine cancer in the prostate
- Squamous cell carcinoma – A very rare, aggressive prostate cancer that starts in the flat cells that cover the prostate gland
- Prostate sarcoma – Develops in the muscle and nerves outside of the glands of the prostate
Recurrent and Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer may also be characterized by how it has progressed. Prostate cancer that has returned after cessation of treatment is known as recurrent prostate cancer. This most likely occurs from cancer cells being left behind during treatment.
Prostate cancer that has spread is known as metastatic prostate cancer. Metastatic process cancer may appear only in the immediate area surrounding the prostate. In this case, it is known as regional metastatic prostate cancer. When it spreads to other areas of the body, it is referred to as distant metastatic prostate cancer.
How Much Is My Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Case Worth?
The value of each case varies based on the specific details of the case.
The amount you may be able to recover will vary based on the following:
- The extent of your injuries
- The long-term effects of the misdiagnosis on your quality of life
- The financial impacts of your injuries
Compensation for a prostate cancer misdiagnosis in Illinois includes economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are compensation for monetary losses, and non-economic damages are compensation for pain and suffering.
Economic damages include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Projected future medical expenses
- Projected future lost wages
Non-economic damages include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of bodily functions
- Loss of consortium
If your immediate family member or next of kin has tragically passed away after a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, which includes the following:
- Medical expenses of the deceased
- Burial expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
- Grief and suffering of the family
- Loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, and support
- Loss of the income of the deceased
Why Hire the Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorneys at Levin & Perconti?
If you or your loved one has suffered harm as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis, you need an experienced attorney that understands the devastation you and your family have suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis.
During the three decades since our establishment in 1992, our nationally recognized medical malpractice lawyers have recovered more than a billion dollars for thousands of clients injured by negligent health care providers.
We give each client personalized attention, and we have consistently achieved substantial verdicts and settlements, including the following cancer case results:
- $14 million record verdict against a doctor and hospital after they ignored abnormal chest X-ray results, causing a substantial delay in a lung cancer diagnosis
- $8.1 million medical malpractice verdict for a family whose mother died of lung cancer as a result of a failure to diagnose
- $2.3 million settlement over a laboratory’s failure to properly read pap smears, resulting in the death of a 35-year-old mother of three children after cervical cancer was misdiagnosed
If you or your loved one has suffered harm as a result of a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, you deserve justice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.