A proven record

Our firm has achieved numerous million and multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements. We often take cases that other firms have refused and win.

Is a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Grounds for Compensation?

Is a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Grounds for Compensation?

Delayed diagnosis is among the most damaging types of medical malpractice. A late diagnosis can mean the difference between effective medical treatment and death, especially in cases involving cancer. Do victims of delayed diagnosis of cancer or other conditions have the right to pursue compensation for the harm they have suffered? 

What Is a Delayed Diagnosis? 

A delayed diagnosis is a diagnosis that is made far later than it should have been. Unfortunately, delayed diagnoses often occur in cancer cases, due to the difficult nature of diagnosing cancer. However, despite this difficulty, medical professionals must still spot malignancies when they are reasonably identifiable. 

As you likely know, the result of untreated cancers is often death. Yes, “watch and wait” is a common strategy in cancer treatment, but only after a disease has been diagnosed and evaluated. A delayed cancer diagnosis only deals with the wait portion of “watch and wait.” Without the watch, the patient is simply waiting for the cancer to grow to a point where its diagnosis can no longer be delayed.  

Delayed Cancer Diagnosis in Action 

A delayed cancer diagnosis case can happen in a variety of different contexts. Every time a patient sits for treatment, examination, or consultation, the opportunity to diagnose cancer may exist. Medical professionals involved at every stage of the treatment of a patient must identify these opportunities when it is reasonable to do so. 

Medical Examination 

Standard medical examinations are great diagnostic tools. Physicians and other medical professionals who perform them should detect red flags that may indicate the presence of malignancies. Because many cancers do not have symptoms, however, the standard medical examination may be limited in what it can catch.  

Emergency Department Care 

Emergency department visits can expose patients to all types of diagnostic and imaging testing as medical professionals seek to save their lives. While treating emergency patients, healthcare professionals must diagnose cancers they come across when it is reasonable to do so.  

For example, if an MRI or other test picks up signs of cancer in a car accident victim, this information must be explored and not ignored. 


Surgeons are in a special position to see inside patients with their own eyes. They can spot difficult or impossible-to-see malignancies while performing operations for other reasons. For example, a surgeon treating a gunshot wound may be in an optimal position to identify a tumor within their patient. If they miss the tumor, it could grow and turn deadly.  

Testing and Imaging 

Testing and imaging are crucial elements of cancer diagnoses. However, these powerful tools require professional interpretation guided by clear medical standards of care and treatment. An improper testing procedure or reading of a test result could cause a cancer diagnosis to be delayed for months or even years.  

It is important to note that even when not searching for cancers, medical professionals who read and interpret test results are responsible for identifying reasonably identifiable signs of cancer in their scans.  

For instance, an MRI ordered in search of head trauma may show signs of a brain tumor. Failure to communicate or act on this information may lead to a delayed diagnosis and serious injury or death.  

Delays in Specialist Referrals 

General physicians are typically responsible for referring their patients to specialists when they present with symptoms of cancer. However, cancer symptoms tend to mimic the symptoms of other diseases. So physicians often seek to treat these conditions before sending a patient to a specialist for cancer investigation.  

This is reasonable in many cases. However, when the physician delays unreasonably or delays for too long, they may be liable for medical malpractice.  

Compensation for Delayed Cancer Diagnosis 

A successful delayed diagnosis lawsuit or claim can yield various monetary and non-monetary damages, including: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Medical bills 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Lost salary, wages, and income 
  • Expenses related to treatment of the cancer diagnosis 

Compensation is not a magic bullet that makes everything better. It does, however, help victims find peace.  

Let Silberstein, Awad & Miklos Get Justice for You 

Silberstein, Awad & Miklos is dedicated to fighting for justice for victims of medical malpractice. If you have been given a delayed diagnosis resulting in suffering and losses, we can potentially recover valuable funds that will help cover your losses.  

Although money can’t erase the fact of a misdiagnosis, it can bring a great measure of relief to your life. Contact Silberstein, Awad & Miklos for a free consultation today.