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The misdiagnosis of larynx and trachea cancers

Cancers can be frequently misdiagnosed, especially the rare ones. Michigan residents, especially those who smoke, should know about laryngeal cancer and tracheal cancer: that is, cancer that affects the voice box and the windpipe. Though they resemble lung cancer, they are actually classified as head and neck cancers.

One head and neck cancer specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas has said that out of the 55,000 head and neck cancers diagnosed every year, roughly one third are laryngeal cancers. As for tracheal cancers, he states that he only treated three or four cases of it in the past decade.

Laryngeal cancer is a serious condition that usually requires patients to have their larynx removed, undergo radiation therapy and subsequently breathe through a stoma, or opening, in the front of the neck. They will need to relearn how to speak through speech therapy. Tumors of the trachea, if they cannot be surgically removed, must normally be treated with chemotherapy.

Both cancers tend to be diagnosed only in their advanced stages, making treatment more difficult. Tracheal cancer, in particular, is liable to be mistaken for asthma, lung cancer or thyroid cancer. However, former smokers can have laryngeal cancer diagnosed sooner because they are more likely to notice any voice changes, which are symptomatic of the cancer.

Sometimes, a misdiagnosis of cancer, even a rare one, is due to negligence on the doctor’s part. When this happens, victims may be able to seek compensation for their losses under medical malpractice law. They may be reimbursed, for example, for the cost of unnecessary treatments and for the irreversible harm caused as their true condition worsened. Filing a malpractice claim can require a lot of medical knowledge, so victims may want a lawyer by their side for each step.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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