As the death rate from cancer climbed in past years, the focus of the medical community was to limit deaths through increased treatment. However, in recent years the death rate from cancer in Montana and around the country has fallen. This has led researchers to wonder if cancer patients are now overtreated, which could lead to medical malpratice. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, they believe the answer to that question may be yes.
At their June 2018 meeting, the society has largely concluded that some patients were receiving treatment, including radiation, which was unnecessary. One example the society discussed was a common form of breast cancer known as HER-2 negative disease. In many cases, an anti-hormone treatment and surgery were enough to cure the disease. In many cases, women were urged to go through chemotherapy anyway. The harmful effects of chemotherapy were used despite being unnecessary.
Another type of cancer in which less treatment is potentially better is advanced kidney cancer. According to a study presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, there was no statistical benefit for patients to have their kidney removed in addition to going through radiation treatment. According to the study, those who had the kidney surgery were no more likely to live longer than those who did not have the surgery. In these cases, patients were going through pain and expense of a medical procedure for nothing.
When a doctor prescribes a medical treatment that is unnecessary, they may be committing medical malpractice. That is certainly the case when unnecessary treatment is prescribed, and that treatment ends up injuring the patient. In those cases, a patient may be able to collect monetary damages from the doctor or hospital. An attorney with experience in medical malpractice law may be able to help the patient negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or even file a lawsuit on their behalf.