Pancreatic Cancer Medical Malpractice Lawyer Compensation Claims
Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year however only a minority are diagnosed early enough to affect a cure. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis is extremely common and failure by a healthcare practitioner that amounts to negligence is a matter of medical malpractice and entitles the victim to claim financial recompense for pain and suffering or the loss of opportunity for a cure. Our specialist medical malpractice lawyers deal with pancreatic cancer clinical negligence cases against doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare providers working in medical practices, clinics, hospitals and all other places where health care is dispensed. If you would like advice about pancreas cancer misdiagnosis just contact our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer with call to discuss your potential compensation claim without charge and without further obligation. Our medical malpractice lawyers will give you their opinion on the liability of the negligent healthcare provider and will estimate the amount of the likely award of damages there and then.
Pancreas Cancer Misdiagnosis Facts
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells of the pancreas suffer a change in their DNA such that the cells grow out of control. Pancreatic cancer is considered a particularly aggressive cancer with a high death rate. About 4,000 individuals are diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas each year in Canada and of those, well over 3,000 will die of the disease. The average age at time of diagnosis is about 72 years of age with very few patients diagnosed before the age of 45.
The age-adjusted incidence rate was 12.0 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are based on cases diagnosed in 2004-2008 from 17 SEER geographic areas. The rate is highest in black men and women. The median age at death from pancreatic cancer is about 73 years of age. Survival rates depend on whether or not the cancer is localized or metastatic. The overall survival rate for pancreatic cancer after five years is 5.5 percent. For localized cancer, the survival rate is 21.5 percent; for regional disease (involving local lymph nodes), the survival drops to 8.6 percent; for metastatic disease, the five year survival rate is about 1.8 percent. The lifetime risk of getting pancreatic cancer is slightly over 1 percent.
The exact cause behind getting pancreatic cancer is unclear. It is known that those who smoke and those who are overweight have a higher than average chance of getting the disease. In addition, women are at a slightly higher risk of getting the disease than men. Risk goes up with age. A few people have a genetic predisposition to getting pancreatic cancer, but this is rare.
A tumour of the pancreas often grows very fast meaning that the condition is rarely diagnosed in the early stages. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer involve a loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. You can have pain in the upper part of the abdomen or in the back. Jaundice is common with this condition. You can also have dark urine, clay coloured stools, weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Less common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include getting blood clots, depression, problems sleeping, diarrhea and indigestion. These are all vague symptoms that can be related to other GI problems but must be looked at in case they are due to pancreatic cancer.
The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer depends on the doctor doing a careful history and physical examination. A lump might be felt in the abdomen in severe cases. To see pancreatic cancer diagnostically, you may have to have a CT scan of the abdomen or an MRI examination of the abdomen. An ERCP can show cancer, particularly of the head of the pancreas. An ERCP is also known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography examination. An endoscopic ultrasound can also be performed. Ultimately, it is up to the biopsy of the pancreatic mass to really show that the person has pancreatic cancer. Liver function studies may also be abnormal, especially if the cancer blocks the bile ducts. The bilirubin can be elevated, causing jaundice.
The treatment of pancreatic cancer is very difficult because it is so often found in its advanced stages. Doctors rarely remove the cancer by means of surgery because it hasn’t been found to be helpful in curing the disease. If the cancer is removed, it is removed by means of a Whipple procedure, which removes the pancreas and the duodenum. It should be done at a cancer center that does this type of procedure often because it is a difficult procedure. Radiation and chemotherapy tend to work better than surgery for pancreatic cancer, although the survival rate, regardless of the type and aggressiveness of the treatment, tends to be quite low.