September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cancer affecting kids and minors. According to The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), each year about 15, 780 American children are diagnosed with cancer each year, with about 1 in 285 Americans being diagnosed with cancer before adulthood. While childhood cancer is rare, it remains the leading cause of disease-related death in children.
Child cancer patients in Coral Gables have access to some of the best children’s hospitals and pediatric oncology departments in the region, with an easy drive to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Kindred Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital, Holtz Children’s Hospital, and other centers.
One challenge which arises for Coral Gables children with cancer is proper diagnosis. Across the country, about 20% of children who are diagnosed with children will not survive. The chances of survival are much greater when an early diagnosis is made. Unfortunately, cancer misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences when a child is not correctly diagnosed with cancer in a timely fashion.
Why Childhood Cancer Misdiagnosis Happens
Globally, about one-third of childhood cancers go undiagnosed, with about 44% of children passing away before they are correctly diagnosed, according to ACCO. While the rate of misdiagnosis of childhood cancer is lower in Coral Gables than in some parts of the world, it is still a concern.
Unfortunately, some of the most common signs of cancer in children can look like other illnesses or may not seem like serious symptoms on their own. The symptoms of childhood cancer are also varied and can include:
- Easily bruising skin
- Repeated, ongoing illness, especially involving nausea and high fever
- Unusual growths, swelling, or lumps anywhere on the body
- Vomiting and headaches, especially in the morning
- Unexplained weight loss
- Vision problems
- Unexplained pains
- Pediatricians should be aware of the signs of cancer and follow up if a child presents with cancer symptoms. Unfortunately, when doctors are negligent they may put their child patients at risk.
Preventing Childhood Cancer Misdiagnosis in Coral Gables
There are things concerned parents can do to minimize the risk of cancer:
- Learn about childhood cancer: Being able to recognize the symptoms of childhood cancer and knowing how to address the many needs of a childhood cancer patient can help families on their health journey. ACCO has many resources to help families.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle: Varied and fresh food, plenty of activity, and maintaining the correct weight range in childhood can help give a child the best overall chance at a healthy life.
- Get regular pediatric check-ups: Yearly or regular checkups can help a pediatrician notice any symptoms which can be worrisome. It can be helpful to keep a journal of any possible symptoms so a doctor can better evaluate a child’s overall health.
- Be aware of cancer history: If there is a family history of cancer or childhood cancer, this should be shared with a child’s pediatrician. The doctor may recommend additional screening or may be looking for specific symptoms if they know a child is at a heightened risk.
- Get a second opinion: Unfortunately, misdiagnosis and medical malpractice are two things parents need to be aware of. If your child has worrying symptoms and they are not addressed by your usual doctor, consider seeking a second opinion.
A cancer misdiagnosis in childhood can be devastating. It can delay potentially life-saving treatment and put a child’s life at risk. If your child has been subject to a delayed or incorrect diagnosis in Coral Gables or anywhere in South Florida, contact an attorney to determine whether you have a claim. Seeking compensation can help pay for complex treatment and can help pay for the services your child needs because of the misdiagnosis.
You can always reach Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Coral Gables medical malpractice claims attorney. We can review your case with you in a safe and compassionate setting.