Melanoma is one of the most common forms of cancer in people between the ages of 25-29, and is the deadliest form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 65,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma every year, and almost 10,000 will die each year., about estimates that about 68,720 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the US during 2009, resulting in nearly 9,000 deaths.
Early detection of melanoma can save lives. The risk of dying from the disease is related to the depth of the cancer through the tissues of the skin, and depth is directly related to the amount of time a melanoma has been growing.
The good news about Melanoma is that unlike most other cancers, skin cancers present on the skin and are most often visible to the patient and the examiner.
Most malpractice cases occur when a patient points out a lesion to the doctor, the doctor professes to be ‘unimpressed,” and fails to recommend a biopsy. In other instances, the doctor takes an inadequate biopsy, or the pathologist examining the tissue fails to identify the presence of a melanoma.
How can you protect yourself from a failure to diagnose melanoma?
Perform your own periodic skin exams. Look for a lesion that is changing, or asymmetric, or has color variation or irregular borders. Examples of change are elevation, pain, itching, bleeding, or burning. If you see something that troubles you, point it out to the doctor. Be particularly aware of moles/lesions that look odd, or really different than anything else on your body. If you find one, tell your doctor, and ask why you shouldn’t have that ugly thing “put in a bottle” and looked at under a microscope.
Another way to protect yourself from a failure to diagnose melanoma is to have a full body skin check every year as part of your physical. Embarrassed? Have the skin check anyway-it might save your life
If you believe that you are the victim of melanoma misdiagnosis, contact medical malpractice attorney Ryan M. Springer for a free consultation by completing the form below: