Cancer Misdiagnosis

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Lawyers for Cancer Misdiagnosis

With a medical diagnosis as serious as cancer, time is of the essence when it comes to determining whether or not the patient can hope to make a full recovery. In fact, perhaps the most important indicator of survival is how quickly the cancer was detected, diagnosed and treated. Many cancer treatments hinge on early detection and swift treatment, but medical professionals who fail to adequately screen for cancer can rob their patients of invaluable time.

Attorney and firm partner Dan Hodes affirms this sense of urgency in the video below.

If you or a loved one has suffered by a doctor’s failure to diagnose your cancer in a timely manner, this page provides information to help determine your next steps.

You may qualify to file a cancer misdiagnosis claim if you or a family member:

  • Received an inaccurate cancer diagnosis from a doctor or specialist
  • Were not diagnosed despite regular medical check-ups
  • Described symptoms to your doctor that were seemingly ignored, discounted or misinterpreted

As one of Southern California’s and the nation’s leading medical malpractice law firms, the attorneys at Hodes Milman, LLP have over 75 years of combined experience in cancer misdiagnosis cases. Read on to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones.

Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis

science lab pictureA cancer diagnosis is always difficult to hear from a physician – and the distress is only compounded when there is malpractice when the diagnosis includes and error.

Cancer misdiagnosis can be caused by several factors. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, these may include:

  • Failing to consider a diagnosis
  • Failing to order needed tests
  • Making mistakes in reading test results;
  • Assuming another possible diagnosis
  • Not timely ordering follow-up testing after an abnormal test result
  • Not timely asking about an important aspect of patient or family history
  • Delaying or failing to recognize a critical piece of information in a physical exam
  • Not reporting a lab or radiology test result to a doctor
  • Making a mistake in interpreting a lab or radiology test
  • Making technical errors in lab or radiology testing

Any of these missteps can cost the patient valuable time, leading to consequences that may include unnecessary surgery, astronomical medical costs, more severe treatment than would have been necessary had the cancer been recognized sooner, or even death. If you suspected that you had cancer or you noticed unusual symptoms which were ignored or dismissed by your doctor and which later proved to be indicators of cancer or if your cancer treatment was mishandled in any way, you may have a right to monetary compensation for your hardship, suffering and medical expenses.

Legal Spotlight:

Managing Partner, Daniel Hodes, has in-depth experience with cancer misdiagnosis cases, including, at the time, record-setting recoveries on behalf of his clients.

Client Testimonial:

Hodes, Milman, Liebeck was there for me at a very difficult time in my life. I worked directly with Dan Hodes and cannot thank him enough for his tireless work throughout my case. Dan treated me like a human being, not just another client and he showed he cared by how hard he worked on my case. I would refer any of my friends or family to this law firm, because I know anyone is in good hands when being represented by Hodes, Milman, Liebeck. – Dalia P.

Types of Cancer Most Often Misdiagnosed

A helpful misdiagnosis infographicDownload a copy of the “Cancer Misdiagnosis” here.

According to ABC News, when researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore reviewed tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients across the country, they found one out of every 71 cases was misdiagnosed; for example, a biopsy was labeled cancerous when it was not. And up to one out of five cancer cases was misclassified. Cancer screening and misdiagnosis are far too common and often due to medical negligence. Below is a list of cancers that are often misdiagnosed or missed during screening:

  1. Lymphoma;
  2. Breast cancer;
  3. Sarcomas;
  4. Melanomas;
  5. Cancer of unknown primary site;
  6. Brain and central nervous system cancer;
  7. Lung cancer;
  8. Prostate cancer;
  9. Ovarian cancer; and
  10. Pancreatic cancer.

According to a 2014 study performed by the Center for Disease Control, California ranked 45th for the number of incidents of cancer, and 38th when specifically diagnosing invasive female breast cancer. According to, 1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime, and survival is often a function of timeliness of diagnosis and treatment. Delays in the diagnosis of breast cancer are generally the result of four scenarios:

  • Misinterpretation of mammogram or ultrasound studies
  • Failure to properly work a palpable breast mass
  • Misinterpretation of breast biopsy
  • Failure to properly report the result of a suspicious imaging study or pathology specimen to a medical specialist

If you or someone close to you was misdiagnosed as having or not having cancer, speaking with a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. We can answer questions confidentially and there is no-obligation to pursue a claim. Should you choose to file a lawsuit, there are no up-front costs and you don’t pay us unless we win your case.

Cancer Misdiagnosis in Healthy Patients

Besides misdiagnosing certain types of cancer or suggesting inappropriate or insufficient treatments for existing cancers, another type of cancer misdiagnosis occurs when healthy patients or patients with a non-cancerous condition are told by a medical professional that they have cancer. Some tests may also return false positives, indicating cancer when there is none present. This can lead to lost time, lost income, unnecessary expense and even unnecessary and irreversible surgeries, as well as the traumatic emotional hardship for the victim and his or her family.

If you were misdiagnosed with cancer when you were actually healthy, you may likely have a case and should only speak with a lawyer familiar with incidents of cancer misdiagnosis.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Legal Representation

For cases involving medical malpractice of any kind, and cancer misdiagnosis, in particular, it is essential to choose a legal team with experience in representing people whose lives have been forever changed by the negligence of a medical professional, hospital or treatment center. Whether your doctor failed to recognize your cancer, failed to adequately treat it, or diagnosed you as having cancer when you did not, having your case reviewed by our legal team can help provide reliable answers to your questions and help you to understand what your options are and how they may favor you and your family.


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When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.

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