Lung cancer is a serious health concern for many people in New Mexico and around the country. It is one of the most common forms of malignancy and can have a serious impact on health and well-being. When people hear that there has been an abnormality detected on their lungs, they may be particularly worried about the potential for cancer. However, there are a number of different disorders, some of them relatively benign and others more serious, that can be characterized by marks on the lungs. Making a correct diagnosis and identifying the problem can be critical to providing early treatment, which can make all the difference for outcomes in many progressive diseases.

Lung cancer may be difficult to detect in some cases, especially early enough to make a significant difference in outcomes. Chest X-rays, for example, pick up fewer signs of lung cancer than do CT scans. False positives in some tests are likely. At the same time, however, it is important that doctors not dismiss symptoms that could indicate lung cancer, even if the patient does not seem to have significant individual risk factors for the disease. Early detection and treatment may lead to longer lives and better outcomes, and a misdiagnosis can be dangerous and even fatal.

There are some factors that could distinguish benign marks on the lungs from cancer, including the patient’s risk factors, the size of the lesion, and the shape of its borders. Just as the failure to diagnose cancer can be dangerous, so too can overly aggressive treatment based on a false positive test.

Doctor errors can lead to seriously worsened health outcomes for patients affected, especially when a failure to diagnose cancer leads to the progression of the disease. Patients who have suffered due to a physician’s mistake may consult with a medical malpractice attorney about their options to seek compensation.