How Prompt Diagnosis Impacts Cancer Survival Rates

Though researchers continue their efforts to find a cure for cancer, medical advancements and innovative technologies have resulted in positive outcomes for many patients. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there were around 15.5 million cancer survivors living in the US in 2016; within the next seven years, that number is expected to increase to more than 20 million.

However, medical professionals stress that early detection and treatment is critical for patients to experience the best possible results. Physicians must be diligent and thorough in recognizing cancer symptoms, conducting additional tests, and making a proper diagnosis. Mistakes can be tragic, so you should consult with an Alaska medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect errors. Some background information may also be useful.


Cancer and Five-Year Survival Rates

When looking at the prevalence and prognosis for patients with different types of cancer, medical professionals use a measurement called a “five-year survival rate.” The calculation involves the percentage of individuals who survive for at least five years after being diagnosed. Even if the person is still being treated and some traces of cancer remain, the point of the five-year survival rate is whether he or she is alive for purposes of the statistic. The seven cancers with the highest survival rates, when caught in time and properly treated, are:

  • Thyroid Cancer: 98-100% survival rate.
  • Breast Cancer: 99%;
  • Prostate Cancer: 99%;
  • Testicular Cancer: 995%;
  • Melanoma: 92-97%;
  • Cervical Cancer: 93%; and,
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma: 90%.


Treatable Cancers Require Prompt Diagnosis

 You are far more likely to be within the five-year survival rate for these and other forms of cancer when the disease is caught early. A prompt, proper diagnosis by your health care provider means you can get started on treatment right away. Depending on the type and stage, your options may include:

  • Surgery;
  • Chemotherapy;
  • Radiation therapy;
  • Immunotherapy;
  • Hormone therapy; and,
  • Many others.


When a physician fails to diagnose cancer or diagnoses the wrong disease, you are not receiving these vital treatments. The cancer may spread to other parts of the body, potentially becoming terminal over time. It is equally disturbing if you were diagnosed with cancer, but actually suffer from some other medical condition. You are receiving invasive, painful, possibly harmful treatment that you do not need. Chemotherapy in particular can have severe side effects, as the substances designed to kill cancerous cells act as a sort of poison for healthy tissue.


Discuss Your Rights with an Alaska Medical Malpractice Attorney Right Away

 If you or a loved one suffered harm because of a questionable diagnosis regarding cancer, qualified legal representation is essential. Medical malpractice claims based upon misdiagnosis are extremely complex, and you put your rights at risk if you attempt to handle the matter yourself. Our team at Power & Power Law can assist with your case, so contact our firm to set up a free consultation at our office in Anchorage, Alaska. We can provide more information about your legal remedies after reviewing your circumstances.