Prostate Cancer and Utah Medical Malpractice


Utah medical malpractice data shows that prostate cancer is a growing concern. This potentially deadly disease is curable with early and appropriate care, but medical malpractice in these cases can spell dire consequences. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 1 out of every 7 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Since this disease is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men, it is essential to understand what can go wrong in its treatment.

Screening Failures

Prostate cancer can spread quickly. The ACS recommends that men of high risk, including African-Americans and those with first-degree relatives with prostate cancer, begin screening at age 45. Testing for men of average risk should start at age 50. Yet failure to screen is the most common type of medical malpractice. Doctors may fail to discuss screening options with patients and often fail to perform routine examinations or blood tests. In some cases, medical malpractice occurs when doctors fail to order testing even when patients exhibit symptoms that potentially indicate a problem.

Testing Failures

Screening is of key importance in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer, but adequate testing is not enough to ensure its cure. Medical malpractice can happen when doctors fail to interpret test results properly. Doctors may neglect to notice an increased level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a blood test, for example, or they may fail to follow up with a patient after receiving abnormal test results. With some patients, doctors overlook potentially cancerous masses during routine prostate examinations.

Treatment Failures

When PSA levels in the blood are elevated or when lumps are found during manual prostate examinations, doctors are obligated to recommend further testing and appropriate treatment options to patients. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In some instances, medical malpractice occurs when doctors misinterpret blood tests or biopsy results as being negative. Some doctors may also fail to perform or order a biopsy when test results are abnormal. Both of these treatment errors can cause patients to receive delayed or incorrect treatment, or no treatment at all. Since 1 in every 38 men diagnosed with prostate malignancy will die from the disease, survival is dependent upon timely and appropriate treatment.

Negligence in screening or diagnosis, as well as errors in treatment or care for any significant disease, can lead to patient suffering or death. In such cases, you and your family may wish to pursue a legal claim against the negligent physician. Although this can never undo the damage that’s been done, it will provide you with the opportunity to hold the doctor responsible for the error. If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed by mistakes or negligence in the treatment of prostate cancer, contact Rasmussen and Miner today to discuss your Utah medical malpractice case.