• Tom Kline Shanin Specter Andrew Stern Lee Balefsky David Caputo Andrew Youman Amy Guth Charles Becker Michael Smerconish Lisa Dagostino Michelle Tiger
    Garabet Zakeosian Mark Polin Dominic Guerrini Michael Trunk Regan Safier Geary Yeisley Kila Baldwin David Williams David Inscho James Waldenberger Suzanne dePillis
    Christine Clarke Braden Lepisto Elizabeth Crawford Kristen Sipala Barry Magen Tracie Palmer Gilbert Shelsby Robert Leoni Paulette Francois Priscilla Jimenez Colin Burke
  • $109 Million
    Largest Verdict in a Personal Injury case
    in Pennsylvania history

  • $100 Million
    Medical Malpractice
    Largest-ever compensatory verdict

  • $153 Million
    Then-second largest Product
    Liability verdict in U.S. history

  • $38.2 Million
    Delaware County
    Auto Accident Verdict

  • $36.4 Million
    Workplace Injury
    Largest single-victim fatality settlement

  • $51 Million
    Premises Liability/
    Civil Rights verdict

Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer - Philadelphia Attorneys

Pennsylvania - New Jersey - Delaware - Nationwide

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Missed/Delayed Diagnoses - Cancer Malpractice

Medical errors involving cancer cases are relatively common, whether missed or delayed diagnosis of the disease or, as in a recently publicized Philadelphia lawsuit, botched surgeries by doctors and their staffs. Such incidents of medical malpractice can lead to serious injury and death.

If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer when it was first apparent, the cancer may have spread, causing disfiguring surgery, unnecessary chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Worse, it may have reduced your chance of survival.

The Philadelphia cancer attorneys at Kline & Specter, P.C., understand the impact of a delayed or missed cancer diagnosis. Our medical malpractice lawyers have obtained substantial verdicts and settlements in cases involving missed or delayed cancer diagnoses. We represent people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide. Call us for your free case evaluation.

A study reported in the online journal Cancer concluded that roughly one in eight cancer patients in the United States are initially misdiagnosed. This study estimated that 128,000 people each year suffer some degree of "harm," ranging from having to undergo a second round of tests to consequences that are fatal. 

The study concluded that cancer misdiagnoses were caused by improper blood and tissue sampling and inaccurate reading of laboratory test results. Breast and colon cancer are among the more common forms of cancer that go undetected because of error. However, your doctor may have missed other cancers including bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, melanoma or lung cancer.  

A later study found that women older than 70 are "under-diagnosed, under-staged, and under-treated" for cancer compared with younger women. Women in the older age group make up fully one-third of all breast cancer patients.

Failure to diagnose any of these cancers, regardless of the age or gender of the patient, could be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Botched Cancer Surgery

Failure to diagnose cancer is not the only basis for a medical malpractice claim involving cancer. In some cases, a surgical error can also justify a claim.

In one highly publicized medical malpractice case, it was revealed that at least 92 surgical procedures involving prostate cancer were botched at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Philadelphia. (Read story, FDA Release.) The series of medical errors at the Philadelphia VA hospital, widely reported in June 2009, included a surgeon mistakenly implanting radioactive “seeds” not in cancerous prostates but in healthy organs, including patients’ bladders and rectums. In other cases the doses of radiation were either too high or too low.

Kline & Specter, a law firm with more than 30 attorneys – several of them also highly skilled doctors – has broad experience and success in litigating cancer cases including failure to diagnose cancer, delayed diagnosis and botched surgery lawsuits, winning substantial jury verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Following are just a few examples:

  • Breast Cancer. In one case tried by Tom Kline, a jury in Lehigh County awarded $33.1 million to a woman whose doctor and a company that provided mammography services failed to timely diagnose her breast cancer. She died as a result. (See the Welteroth Case.)
  • In a 2003 trial later featured on ABC’s Nightline, Kline won a $3 million verdict for the family of a woman, Dagmar Lackman, who died because of a delayed breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Colon Cancer. In a colon cancer case, the law firm won a verdict of $8.25 million in Delaware County Court for a man whose cancer was initially missed, leading to his death.
  • In another case, Kline & Specter reached a settlement on behalf of the family of professional boxer Stephen Little, the former WBA super middleweight champion, who died of cancer after a misdiagnosis led to a 10-month delay in treating his colon cancer. Little, of Reading, married and the father of six, died at age 34.

Contact a cancer lawyer.

Click here to view News Articles about cancer cases handled by Kline & Specter attorneys.

The attorneys at Kline & Specter handle failure to diagnose cancer lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York and Nationwide, working with local attorneys in states outside PA, NJ and DE.

Breaking News

  • A study has discovered that an average of 15 percent of cleaned flexible endoscopes used to examine GI tracts and colons at five hospitals were harboring cells and other material from previously examined patients. The discovery led hospitals to tell patients to get tested for hepatitis B and C, and HIV. While colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US, the rate of examinations that can discover the disease, including colonoscopies, is only about 60 percent in people over age 50. (Full story)
  • A federal judge has ordered a VA medical center to pay nearly $60,000 to a man who got a cancer misdiagnosis. The man was told he had brain cancer and that he only had months to live. He quit his job, sold his pickup and contemplated suicide. When he started to feel better, he underwent additional testing that determined he had instead suffered several small strokes. (Full Story)
  • A jury awarded $813,000 to a woman whose foot was amputated following a cancer misdiagnosis. The doctor diagnosed the woman as having terminal cancer, but she actually was suffering from pneumonia. She later lapsed into a coma, which resulted in the amputation of her left foot. Now-retired, the doctor had been disciplined by state regulators in other misdiagnosis cases, and was fined twice in 2007 for failing to diagnose one patient’s rectal cancer over six years. (Full story)
  • Tom Kline interviewed on botched VA prostate cancer cases, Fox News 6/22/09
  • Tom Kline on Philadelphia VA cancer treatment problems, Fox News 8/13/08
  • A jury has awarded a woman $400,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor who failed to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner. The woman learned she had invasive carcinoma stage III and had a radical mastectomy performed on her right breast and a simple mastectomy on her left breast. (Full story)
  • Men diagnosed with testicular cancer at 40 years of age or older have twice the risk of dying from the disease as younger patients, according to a study of nearly 28,000 men. Several factors may account for the age-related mortality difference, including the fact that older patients are often not treated with the same intensity as younger patients. The researchers recommend more attention to the care of older patients as well as those of people of lower socioeconomic status for the best results. (Full story)
  • A national website ranks the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area as the second-worst place in the nation for smoking. About 23 percent of residents smoke an average of 17 cigarettes each day, according to consumer behavior data. As a result of the high incidence of smoking, lung cancer cases there are 18 percent higher than the national average. Every year, about 650 people in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Wayne counties are diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, with about 500 of those cases being fatal. (Full story)


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