Many people are not diagnosed with oral cancer until the third or fourth stage. Often, the symptoms should have been noticed by a medical professional, but they get overlooked by a dentist or physician. You may benefit from learning more about some of the issues with diagnosing oral cancer correctly.
Diagnosing oral cancer
Oral cancer is diagnosed by taking a biopsy from the oral cavity, lips or oropharynx. If the cells are cancerous but are reported as noncancerous by the pathologist, this is a misdiagnosis. If the cells aren’t cancerous but the pathologist reports them as cancerous, this is also considered to be a misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosing oral cancer may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim if the patient has an adverse reaction from being undertreated or overtreated with medication they don’t need.
Understanding oral cancer
Oral cancer can develop in the lips, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the lining of the cheeks, the area under the tongue, the roof of the mouth or the area behind the wisdom teeth. Physicians give patients screening tests for oral cancer before symptoms have started to appear. By the time symptoms appear, oral cancer has probably started to spread already. If the screening returns abnormal results, physicians run more diagnostic tests to determine if the patient has oral cancer.
Recovering from an oral cancer misdiagnosis
If you believe your oral cancer was misdiagnosed, contact a lawyer. Legal counsel may help investigate your claim to determine whether you were a victim of medical malpractice. Your lawyer may be able to guide you through the legal process while communicating with administrators and local authorities so that you can focus on healing. It might be possible to recover damages for medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering caused by the misdiagnosis.