Cancer patients in New York depend on their doctors to choose appropriate treatment plans. Presentations at a recent American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, however, shared conclusions from long-term studies that showed some cancer therapies were unnecessary or meaningless.
An extremely common form of breast cancer called hormone-positive, HER-2 negative disease does not need to be treated with chemotherapy when it has not entered the lymphatic system. The toxic chemotherapy that many patients have endured over the years showed no benefits. Similarly, researchers found that chemotherapy for a severe form of colon cancer did not produce any positive results. Some doctors had been using the treatment for 15 years despite the absence of evidence about its efficacy.
The application of unnecessary chemotherapy developed over the years because cancer drugs were originally intended to attack advanced cancers. Doctors began gradually applying the drugs in less severe cases. One doctor at the meeting of oncologists said that many cancer treatments arise from tradition and are not based on clinical evidence. Most information that U.S. doctors are exposed to comes from drug companies marketing new drugs.
Although many doctors make a sincere effort to help their patients, mistakes can cross the line into medical negligence. A person who suffered the consequences of a failure to diagnose cancer might choose to take legal action with a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney familiar with litigating medical cases could gather evidence that might include the misreading of test results or performing of unnecessary treatment. A legal representative might arrange for a review of medical records by an independent medical expert to build a case. Along with filing court papers, a lawyer could manage negotiations with a responsible party about the financial terms of a settlement for the victim.