Pancreatic cancer is a growing cause of death and medical bills in Montana and throughout the U.S. An article in Cancer Research projects that pancreatic deaths will soon outpace breast cancer. This is leading to more research to improve and identify more effective treatments for different stages of diagnosis.
In a recent press release, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network suggested several causative factors in the increase of diagnoses and deaths, including an older population and poor early detection modalities that can result in false positives and negatives. The American Cancer Society states that sometimes inaccurate protein markers are used for the general population. More successful testing is an involved process and generally reserved for those with a family history or a specific genetic syndrome. Medical malpractice may play a role in misdiagnosis, but this could be difficult for the patient to notice given the uncertainties inherent in testing.
The ACS stated that nearly 42,000 people will die from pancreatic cancer in 2016. As fatalities rise, the survival rates are still the worst among all major types of cancer.
False positives and false negatives in the diagnosis of cancer pose significant risks to Montana patients. While finding and treating some diseases can be difficult, doctors who fail to follow best practices may be held responsible for negligence. For instance, a doctor with knowledge of their patient's family history of pancreatic cancer may be guilty of medical malpractice for failing to request testing for early detection. An attorney can help patients understand these issues and determine their potential for gaining compensation due to medical negligence.