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Is Rarity of Mesothelioma an Excuse for Failures to Diagnose?

We don’t hear much about mesothelioma or those lives that are claimed by it. That’s not too surprising. It is a rare form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 3,000 new cases are recorded every year in the United States.

How many of those cases might be being identified in Missouri and Kansas isn’t easy to discern, but there’s a possibility that the disease is more prevalent than the statistics suggest. As the ACS website notes, mesothelioma is so uncommon that many doctors have no experience spotting it. And, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.

That may go some way toward explaining why the five-year survival rate for individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma is estimated by the National Cancer Institute to be somewhere between 5- and 10-percent.

What that means is that early detection is a critical factor in determining possible outcomes. Symptoms mimic many common ailments and so are easy for a person to dismiss. And some might argue that makes it just as easy for doctors to overlook mesothelioma as a possible issue.

But one might be able to argue that if a doctor is exercising proper standards of diagnostic practice he or she should be able to elicit information that would serve as a warning flag. In the case of mesothelioma, this might be a patient history revealing exposure to asbestos. Various tests might follow, but the ACS says the only way to confirm the cancer is through a tissue biopsy.

From there, experts say, surgical removal of the affected tissue generally offers the greatest hope for an optimal outcome, if such surgery is possible. But catching the disease in the early stages is crucial.

If you have mesothelioma and suspect that a doctor’s neglect led to a failure to diagnose, you have a right to seek to hold that provider accountable. Making the case may be difficult and require a high level of expertise, medically and legally, and that is something that our firm has and seeks to bring to bear. To explore your options, consider contacting us for a free consultation.