Endometrial Cancer—A Primer in Medicine and the Law
A delayed cancer diagnosis case in particular requires an intimate knowledge of the cancer involved, as well as significant legal principles.
Few words inspire such terror, fear, and sadness as the word cancer. Almost everyone has had friends and family suffer from this insidious disease. However, few people have more than a lay knowledge of cancer. This article will discuss endometrial cancer, how it is treated, and some nuances related to the defense of malpractice claims for failure to diagnose.
Endometrial Cancer What is a cancer? In essence, it is the unrestricted growth of a host’s own cells. The growth is exponential, and the cells mutate from their original histologic appearance as they divide.
In addition to growth, cancer has other unique characteristics that differentiate it from a benign growth. Normal cells don’t abide exponential growth; they don’t thrive being piled on top of each other. Normal cells also lack the ability to recruit new blood vessels and nutrients, which would support their growth. Cancers have no inhibition about being piled on top one another. They continue to expand beyond their origin by forming new blood vessels, which support their exponential growth.
Finally, cancers are able to metastasize. They are able to separate from the original mass, infiltrate the vascular network, and then extricate themselves from the vascular network in distant organs such as the liver, lungs, or bone. Identifying the source of the metastasis is important for an oncologist because it helps define treatment. Patients often proclaim that they have a cancer of the uterus and cancer of the lung and cancer of the liver. In reality, they have endometrial (uterine) cancer, metastatic to the liver and lungs.