Thyroid Cancer Malpractice

NJ Thyroid Cancer Negligence Attorneys

Assisting with Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosed Thyroid Cancer Claims in New Jersey

How do You Know if You Have a Claim for Thyroid Cancer Malpractice in NJ?

The American Cancer Society reports that thyroid cancer in 2024 will affect approximately 44,020 people. Of those numbers, more than twice as many women will contract the disease than men, and about 2% will die from it. Like many cancers, thyroid cancer is far easier to treat when it has not spread beyond the gland, so early detection saves lives, avoids unnecessary treatment, and improves the prognosis for victims. When you or someone you love is the one diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a mistake by a medical professional in the form of failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or negligent treatment can mean life and death, years lost, and utter devastation. The seasoned New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group can help you review your legal options, determine if you have grounds for a thyroid cancer lawsuit, and formulate the most compelling claim for compensation. Simply call (973)-435-4551 or send us a message to request a free consultation regarding your case.

A Look at Cancer of the Thyroid Gland

When seeking to understand what thyroid cancer is, it is important to know that the disease involves abnormal cell growth in that gland, which secretes hormones that regulate critical functions in the human body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and temperature. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland hiding underneath the Adam’s apple in front of the neck. Its presence is undetectable to most until symptoms appear.

Factors the Increase the Likelihood of Thyroid Cancer

Aside from biological sex (woman), one of the key risk factors for contracting the disease is age. Women get it in their 40’s and 50’s, while men get it later, in their 60’s and 70’s. Most other cancers affect their victims in later life. Even though family history of this type of cancer is a risk factor, most with thyroid cancer do not have it in their family. However, family history is one risk factor.

Certain thyroid cancers (familial medullary thyroid carcinoma or FMTC) are linked to an inherited abnormal gene. Other inherited types, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, are associated with gland and mouth tumors and are the most aggressive, forming in childhood and developing in adulthood. A blood test or ultrasound can detect this form of thyroid cancer. Other inherited diseases increase the likelihood of developing thyroid cancer, such as Cowden disease or Carney Complex, type 1, both genetic defect-related conditions.

Radiation exposure is another risk factor for developing cancer of the thyroid. Radiation from medical treatments, including imaging tests or the environment, increase the chances of developing thyroid cancer. Too much or too little iodine in the diet may spur the condition, as well as being overweight.

Warning Signs for Thyroid Cancer that Doctors Should Recognize

Like the gland itself, the symptoms of thyroid cancer can remain undetected until the cancer grows. Patients may contact their physician when they feel an unexplained lump in their throat or experience hoarseness, persistent cough, breathing issues, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing, or neck and throat pain. A doctor should do follow-up tests to confirm a diagnosis for a patient presenting with these symptoms, including a physical exam and more extensive tests and screenings.

Reaching a Proper Diagnosis for Thyroid Cancer

The diagnosis of the cancer type that starts in the thyroid gland is based first on a physical exam and patient chart review. A patient with a lump in the neck or throat needs closer examination, first by physically feeling the lump and then imaging. CT scans, chest X-rays, MRIs, blood tests, and vocal cord tests are just some options to get a closer look at throat growths. Physicians who follow standard medical protocol order such tests to confirm a potential diagnosis, narrowing down the possibilities of what causes the patient’s symptoms.

The size of the lump matters in determining whether the lump is dangerous. Nodules over one centimeter require a biopsy to confirm whether they are malignant. Otherwise, smaller nodules require monitoring. A biopsy consists of extracting a sample with a needle and using an ultrasound. The tissue then goes to the pathologist for examination. In some cases, a partial removal of the gland is necessary to determine if it is cancerous conclusively.

Available Treatment Methods for Thyroid Cancer

Treatment often involves surgery to remove affected parts of the gland or the entire thyroid, followed by hormone therapy. In some instances, endoscopic extraction of the gland and sometimes lymph nodes is appropriate. A thyroidectomy can occur as an outpatient or inpatient surgery. Follow-up may require further treatment with radioactive iodine and, less often, radiation and chemotherapy. Many times, oncologists recommend more modern therapies, such as immunotherapy and targeted chemotherapy.

Fortunately, thyroid cancer is slow-growing, so early detection increases the survival rate substantially. With an early diagnosis, a surgeon can remove and treat the cancerous portion of the gland or the gland itself. The chances of the cancer spreading are low when the cancer has no chance to grow.

Common Reasons for Thyroid Cancer Malpractice Lawsuits

Failure to Diagnose Thyroid Cancer and Delayed Diagnosis

If a physician does not take proper action when a patient complains of symptoms possibly indicating thyroid cancer, they may cause the patient unnecessary health complications, leading to pain, suffering, and financial loss. Failure to diagnose thyroid cancer is possible grounds for a malpractice claim. Moreover, when a physician does detect neck nodules smaller than one centimeter, but fails to monitor them for possible tumor growth, they are potentially liable for undetected cancer and delayed treatment.

Medical professionals may be liable to a patient for delayed diagnosis as well when their negligence allows thyroid cancer to proliferate. One such error is failing to order diagnostic tests to be sure a sore throat is nothing more serious.

Thyroid Cancer Misdiagnosis

Confusing a throat nodule as a swollen lymph gland without further tests can allow a tumor to grow. A physician who misdiagnoses a sore throat for thyroid cancer may be held responsible for the patient’s more difficult treatment when a tumor is left to develop and spread to other areas in the body. Misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer also occurs when a doctor is negligent in reading diagnostic tests.

A faulty reading of a scan can likewise lead to cancer spread and more aggressive treatment that leaves a patient sicker, longer. That means lengthier suffering and more financial losses when a victim cannot work or care for their family. Misdiagnoses may result from an incomplete patient history. For example, a physician may miss critical information about the person’s background, lifestyle, and other risk factors, which are necessary for a correct diagnosis.

Lab Testing Errors for Thyroid Cancer

In addition, lab errors may cause thyroid cancer misdiagnosis and delays in correct diagnosis and treatment. When the lab gives the treating physician the wrong tests or chart, the mix-up may lead to a delay in the individual’s treatment.

Thyroid Cancer Treatment Errors

Another thyroid malpractice source is faulty treatment. In diagnosis or treatment, a surgeon who damages nearby nerves in removing tissue, part of the gland, or the entire gland may be liable for damage to vocal cords or resulting paralysis. Performing procedures incompetently, misdiagnosing conditions by failing to follow standard diagnostic procedures, or failing to diagnose thyroid cancer due to negligent practices all form the foundation for medical malpractice actions.

Proving Breaches in the Standard of Care for Thyroid Cancer

Healthcare providers owe patients a duty of care to follow accepted practices in their designated fields and, in doing so, protect patient health. Since thyroid screening is not required, like breast cancer, a skilled medical malpractice attorney must prove that the physician or other healthcare provider’s mistakes led to the victim’s damages. Our law firm focuses exclusively on medical malpractice litigation, meaning our medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience proving in courts of law that medical providers fell below the acceptable standards of practice, which directly resulted in injuries and damages for victims and their families. When medical providers err in the course of diagnosis and treatment, we fight to ensure that they are held to account and forced to provide financial compensation to the victim or their family for losses resulting from thyroid cancer negligence, complications of the disease, protracted treatment, and death.

Contact an Accomplished New Jersey Thyroid Cancer Malpractice Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

If you suspect medical errors contributed to delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or complications from thyroid cancer, or someone you loved suffered physical, emotional, and financial damages due to thyroid cancer-related negligence in New Jersey, contact Fronzuto Law Group to speak with a formidable medical malpractice lawyer who can help. Contact us online or by calling (973)-435-4551 to discuss your potential claim. We are pleased to provide you with a free case review and explore the legal avenues that may be available to you.

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