Leukemia, Lymphoma & Multiple Myeloma Misdiagnosis
Serving Clients Throughout New York City for Close to 30 Years
Leukemia is a type of cancer that is very prevalent in the U.S. Last year, there were approximately 140,000 new cases of leukemia and the related conditions of lymphoma and myeloma. Of the new cases of cancer that will occur this year, an estimated 9% will be cases of leukemia. Overall, the rates for leukemia in the U.S. are 12.5 cases per 100,000 people. There are 19.8 cases per 100,000 for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 2.8 cases per 100,000 for Hodgkin lymphoma. In the country today, there are over one million people living with these types of cancer or who are in remission from these cancers. Over 50,000 people die from leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma every year in the U.S., but the survival rate is increasing.
What exactly is leukemia? This type of cancer affects the blood cells. As blood cells are made in the bone marrow, this is where the cancer begins. The function of bone marrow is to create white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. White blood cells aid in fighting infection, red blood cells transport oxygen, and platelets aid in blood clotting. When an individual has leukemia, abnormal white blood cells start to form. Known as leukemia cells, they grow at a much faster rate and do not stop growing and multiplying. This growth is dangerous because the cancerous cells can begin to take the place of the healthy cells. When the healthy blood cells are not allowed to function as they should, the result can be increased infections, anemia, or bleeding. These cancerous cells can also spread throughout the body and lead to swelling in the organs and lymph nodes.
Unfortunately, it is not clear what the exact causes of leukemia are. With this said, there are some factors which could increase the person's likelihood of getting this type of cancer. For example, if the victim was exposed to a large amount of radiation or exposed to chemicals or smoke, they could be at risk. In other cases, those with leukemia also had genetic problems like Down syndrome or had been going through chemotherapy for another type of cancer. Although these have been found to be factors, the vast majority of people with leukemia did not have any of these symptoms. The symptoms of leukemia could include a fever, headaches, bruising easily, tiredness, and swollen lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system is made up of nodes (tissues knots) which are connected by blood vessels. The function of the lymphatic system is to clear waste from the body and help drain fluid. They also filter out foreign objects from the body. Lymphoma is a malignancy of this system. The cells in the lymph nodes begin to multiply out of control and can spread to other tissue in the body. In regards to this type of cancer, there are two main types: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common and is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Like leukemia, the reason some people develop this cancer is unknown. There are, however, some risks which could make it more likely. For example, immune deficiencies, genetic syndromes, immune disorders, psoriasis, and family history could make this more likely. Over the years, the cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are increasing and the U.S. has the highest number of cases when compared to every other country.
Another blood disorder that is related to both lymphoma and leukemia is multiple myeloma. This cancer causes a plasma cell to being to multiply in the bone marrow. These types of white blood cells are necessary in order to fight infection, but when there are too many of these cells, it causes levels of immunoglobulin to rise to dangerous levels. These plasma cells do not leave room for the other necessary cells and so cause even more problems. The cells can leak out of the bone marrow and begin to damage the surrounding organs. Those suffering from multiple myeloma will experience symptoms of pain in their bones, weakness, weight loss, kidney problems, confusion, and more.
Early diagnosis of these types of blood cancers is crucial. The reason misdiagnosis and other forms of medical malpractice is so serious in these cases is because any delay in treatment can be life-threatening.
If you or a loved one suffered from leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma and believe that the doctor was negligent, please do not hesitate to contact our team at the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC. Call today for a free case evaluation.
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