When cancer is discovered and treated early, before it has spread from its original site, it is often completely curable.  Early diagnosis, in many cancers, makes the difference between living and dying.

When a patient visits a physician with a complaint, whether major or minor, it is incumbent upon that doctor to consider all possible causes, including cancer, and order appropriate tests.  Even if the patient isn’t complaining but is only having a routine physical exam, the doctor should be asking questions and ordering routine screening tests for cancer, for example mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap smears, skin examinations, and so forth.  Any suspicious or abnormal test results should be followed up by a specialist, and any growth that might be a cancerous or pre-cancerous should be biopsied.

The Seattle, Washington medical malpractice attorneys at Wattel and York believe that a doctor who misses a diagnosis of cancer needs to be held accountable when a treatable cancer becomes an advanced or terminal one. Although it may not be much comfort to the family of a patient who has died from a missed cancer diagnosis, it makes the point that such negligence is unacceptable and may help bring closure.


  • A doctor fails to order  screening tests
  • A primary care doctor overlooks a sign of cancer
  • A doctor fails to refer the patient to a specialist
  • A doctor misdiagnoses the cancer as something else
  • A pathologist makes an error examining tissue samples
  • A radiologist misinterprets something that appears on a scan that is later found to be cancer

Tragically, these errors and oversights can mean prolonged suffering and death when cancer is involved.


If you or someone you love has an advanced cancer that was not diagnosed early enough, you may have a claim against the doctor who negligently failed to recognize it in time.

Failure–to-diagnose-cancer cases require the testimony of medical experts to prove that the failure to diagnose your cancer actually caused a worse outcome than you would have had if the cancer had been caught and treated earlier. The doctor’s defense is usually that an earlier diagnosis would have made no difference, so a great deal hinges on having the best and most credible experts testifying on your behalf.

The Seattle, Washington medical malpractice attorneys at Wattel and York have years of experience proving failure-to-diagnose-cancer cases. We have respected medical experts on call who will analyze your medical records and be available to testify for you if they find that your outcome would have been improved with a correct and timely diagnosis.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to sit down with our seasoned medical malpractice experts. The case evaluation costs you nothing, and you will never owe us anything unless we win you a monetary settlement or verdict.