Recently, an international panel of doctors decided that what they once thought was cancer was actually just a type of tumor that was not, in fact, cancerous at all; permanently affecting a condition that has historically involved removing the thyroid and the use of radioactive iodine, all to treat a “threat” that was never actually a threat. While this will spare thousands—if not millions—of patients a lot of suffering moving forward, it undoubtedly has thousands of others wondering: did I do more damage than good to my body removing what I thought was cancer?
The conclusion—recently published in the journal JAMA Oncology—is expected to not only affect thousands of thyroid cancer patients, but many others who suffer from other types of cancer that involve breast lesions and the prostate. The traditional “treatment”—removal of the thyroid followed by radioactive iodine—the panel has now decided is unnecessary and actually harmful to the body.
According to many cancer experts, this change of heart is long overdue; many experts have been encouraging the professional community to remove the term “cancer” from a variety of conditions involving breast, lung, and prostate lesions for years. And yet, the trend appears to be going in the opposite direction; for example, what was once considered to be a premalignant lump in the breast or an early-stage prostate lesion has turned into “stage zero cancer” or the gateway to more cancerous tumors.
A Created Enemy? Changing the Professional Standard of Care
It should come as no surprise that treating a condition as cancer where it doesn’t exist has led to a lot of unnecessary and somewhat harmful medical treatment. Have we gotten to the point where the word “cancer” has become the actual enemy? Could millions of doctors around the world be violating the principle of “do no harm”?
Clearly, this latest announcement has the potential to completely change the medical profession, particularly when you have a panel of 24 experts arguing for less—rather than more—medical treatment. Whether or not the rest of the medical community around the world is willing to accept the possibility that less is better than more remains to be seen, but what about malpractice and litigation? Just as there has always been legal recourse against a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose cancer if they breached the professional standard of care and damage was done, so too can doctors be sued for being overly aggressive in diagnosing and treating cancer that did not exist, and that’s what makes this latest publication so important; when a particular set of symptoms is classified by the medical community as officially not being considered to be cancer any longer, it arguably provides patients who have been harmed by doctors that misclassified their tumors with a legal remedy.
You May Need a Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice not only occurs when a patient is harmed because of a negligent act or omission by a healthcare professional, but when they undergo an overly aggressive treatment that was medically unnecessary and actually does more harm than good.
Our New Orleans medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve. If you have been too aggressively diagnosed and harmed because of it, contact us today for a free consultation and we will discuss your options with you.