Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases

At Ikuta Hemesath LLP, we understand the devastating impact a lung cancer misdiagnosis can have on patients and their families. Our firm stands out because we have a dedicated team of experts, including highly experienced oncologists, who provide invaluable insights and support for our lung cancer misdiagnosis cases in Orange County and surrounding areas. We are committed to achieving justice for our clients by proving both the violation of the standard of care and the causation of harm, which are crucial in medical malpractice cases.

Understanding Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a particularly aggressive and challenging type of cancer, often with a poor prognosis. However, early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and better outcomes for patients. Lung cancer primarily falls into two categories: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Types of Lung Cancer:

  1. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC):
    • The most common type, accounting for about 85% of all lung cancer cases.
    • Subtypes include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
    • Survival Rates: Early-stage NSCLC has a higher survival rate. For example, the 5-year survival rate for stage I NSCLC is about 68-92%, while it drops significantly for advanced stages. For stage III, the survival rate ranges from 13-36%, and for stage IV, it is approximately 10%.
  2. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):
    • Accounts for about 15% of lung cancer cases.
    • Known for its rapid growth and early spread to distant body parts.
    • Survival Rates: SCLC has a poorer prognosis compared to NSCLC. The 5-year survival rate for limited-stage SCLC is approximately 30%, and for extensive-stage SCLC, it is around 6%.

Our Expertise with Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases

Ikuta Hemesath LLP is equipped to handle the challenge of lung cancer misdiagnosis cases in Orange County, and all of California. Our team includes expert oncologists who can provide detailed and authoritative testimony regarding the standard of care and the impact of delayed diagnosis on a patient’s prognosis. This expertise is crucial in building a compelling case and securing the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Factors Impacting Survival Rates

Several factors can influence the survival rates for lung cancer, including:

  • Age: Younger patients generally have better survival rates compared to older patients.
  • Overall Health: Patients in good health with fewer comorbidities tend to respond better to treatment.
  • Tumor Size and Location: Larger tumors or those located near vital structures can be more challenging to treat.
  • Lymph Node Involvement (N Staging): Cancer spread to lymph nodes significantly lowers the prognosis. The more lymph nodes involved, the poorer the prognosis.
  • Metastasis: If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis), survival rates decrease.

Challenges in Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases

Lung cancer misdiagnosis cases are complex and require proving two main points:

  • Standard of Care Violation: Demonstrating that the healthcare provider failed to meet the accepted standard of care in diagnosing or following up on lung cancer indicators.
  • Causation of Harm: Establishing that this failure directly caused harm to the patient, such as a significantly worse prognosis or outcome than if the cancer had been detected and treated earlier.

Staging of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer staging is crucial in determining the prognosis and treatment strategy. The staging is typically divided into T (Tumor), N (Nodes), and M (Metastasis) categories.

T Staging (Tumor):

  • T1: Tumor is 3 cm or smaller and located within the lung.
  • T2: Tumor is larger than 3 cm but smaller than 7 cm, or it has grown into nearby areas.
  • T3: Tumor larger than 7 cm or invading nearby structures.
  • T4: Tumor of any size that invades nearby structures or has multiple tumor nodules in the same lung.


N Staging (Nodes):

  • N0: No lymph node involvement.
  • N1: Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes within the lung or around the bronchus.
  • N2: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the middle of the chest (mediastinum) on the same side as the primary tumor.
  • N3: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, above the collarbone, or in the neck.


M Staging (Metastasis):

  • M0: No distant metastasis.
  • M1: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body (e.g., liver, bones, brain).

Stages of Lung Cancer

  1. Stage I:
    • IA: Tumor ≤ 3 cm, no lymph node involvement (T1a-T1b, N0).
    • IB: Tumor > 3 cm but ≤ 4 cm, no lymph node involvement (T2a, N0).
  2. Stage II:
    • IIA: Tumor > 4 cm but ≤ 5 cm, no lymph node involvement (T2b, N0).
    • IIB: Tumor > 5 cm, or tumor involving local lymph nodes but not distant (T1a-T2b, N1).
  3. Stage III:
    • IIIA: Tumor of any size with spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest (T1a-T3, N2).
    • IIIB: Tumor of any size with spread to lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest or above the collarbone (T1a-T4, N3).
  4. Stage IV:
    • IVA: Tumor of any size with distant metastasis (M1a).
    • IVB: Multiple areas of metastasis in one or more organs (M1b).

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection of lung cancer can drastically change a patient’s prognosis. The most viable legal cases often involve scenarios where:

  • Lung cancer is incidentally found during preoperative chest x-rays for unrelated conditions, but the findings are not properly acted upon.
  • Nodules detected during screening CT scans, particularly for former smokers, are missed or not followed up appropriately by radiologists.

Case Results: Successful Legal Representation

Our firm has successfully represented patients in lung cancer misdiagnosis cases throughout all of Orange County and California. One notable result includes securing $875,000 for a patient whose lung cancer was not acted upon despite significant findings on a CT scan.

Case Summary:

  • Background: The patient had a history of cigarette smoking, which led their primary care physician to order a CT scan of the chest. The initial scan revealed a suspicious mass, which was not followed up appropriately by the healthcare provider.
  • Progression: Nearly a year later, another CT scan showed that the mass had grown significantly. Subsequent diagnosis revealed stage IIIB lung adenocarcinoma.
  • Outcome: Despite undergoing extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, the delay in diagnosis led to the cancer advancing to a terminal stage. The legal action focused on the failure to follow up on the initial findings, resulting in a substantial settlement for the patient. With the help of Multus Medical, we prepared the following demonstrative that showed the growth of the lung mass over time.

Legal Support for Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis

At Ikuta Hemesath LLP, we are dedicated to advocating for patients who have suffered due to medical negligence. If you or a loved one has experienced a delayed diagnosis of lung cancer in Orange County, Los Angeles, or Sacramento, please contact us for a consultation. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve.

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