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Failures to diagnose cancer a big problem

Cancer kills many people in New Mexico every year. There are certain types that are difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages of the disease. People should be on the lookout for specific signs that one of these types of cancer may be present and then to mention them when they see their doctors.

Prostate cancer occurs in about one out of every eight men. Doctors typically test for its presence using a simple screening test at annual medical appointments. In its early stages, prostate cancer may show very few symptoms. Men who have frequent urinary tract infections, problems with erectile dysfunction, family histories of prostate cancer or weak urine streams should mention these symptoms to their doctors.

Pancreatic cancer may present itself with upper abdominal or back pain. People may also notice weight loss, swelling in their extremities, nausea and vomiting. It is common for those who have this form of the disease to become jaundiced as the cancer spreads. Another commonly missed cancer is cancer of the bladder, which kills around 63,000 people every year. People who have blood in their urine should seek help from their doctors.

When a cancer is diagnosed early on, the person who has it is likelier to have a more favorable prognosis. When a failure to diagnose the disease causes the person's condition to worsen because of delayed treatment, the victim may want to discuss the issue with a medical malpractice attorney. Not every failure to detect cancer constitutes negligence, however, and the attorney will need to determine whether or not the health care practitioner or facility failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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