Lung cancer and chest infections like pneumonia can present with similar symptoms, but there are some key differences between the two. An experienced physician in California should be able to recognize these symptoms and order more testing. However, this is not always the case.
Similarities of lung cancer and pneumonia
Lung cancer is any abnormal growth of cells within the lung tissue. These cells may have grown together to form tumors, or they may have spread to nearby tissues. Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs caused by a variety of microbes but mostly bacteria and viruses. Both pneumonia and lung cancer can present with the following signs:
- Shortness of breath, including wheezing
- Cough, including coughing blood
- Discomfort or pain in chest
Differences of lung cancer and pneumonia
There are some important differences in the two diseases, and a competent physician should recognize them. Signs of lung cancer and not pneumonia include:
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- High calcium and low potassium levels
- Paraneoplastic syndromes
Pneumonia is typically less serious than lung cancer, but it still needs to be addressed by a medical professional. Signs of pneumonia and not lung cancer include:
- Increased mucus production
These main differences are key in diagnosing lung cancer. Another indicator of unidentified lung cancer is recurring bouts of pneumonia.
Approximately 50% of lung cancer patients will survive if diagnosed early. Time wasted with misdiagnosis can result in death for the patient. It is the main cause of death by cancer among both men and women. While pneumonia can also be deadly to some, its survival rate is about 95%.
Recurrent lung cancer is more likely in those who have already had it. A correct diagnosis each time is imperative in preventing medical malpractice.
Medical negligence such as a misdiagnosis can be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The sad reality is that the patient has usually lost their battle to their misdiagnosed disease or is too weakened by the disease to deal with a lawsuit. An experienced and compassionate medical malpractice attorney might be the best advocate for you or a loved one in this situation.