The first step in successfully treating a patient for cancer or other serious illnesses is acquiring a correct diagnosis. In most cases, patients can trust their physicians to take all steps necessary to acquire this diagnosis and then create an appropriate treatment plan. However, failure to diagnose medical conditions do still happen. In fact, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose accurately is one of the most common reasons patients turn to medical malpractice litigation.

While medicine has made many amazing strides throughout its history, it is still an inexact science, which means diagnostic mistakes occur even from dedicated doctors. Despite this, physicians must be held responsible when they fail to abide by industry diagnosing standards, especially when the patient turns out to have cancer. The efficacy of cancer treatment is time-sensitive, meaning a speedy diagnosis is crucial.

Taking a biopsy is a time-tested method to help physicians make a proper cancer diagnosis. Below are some types of biopsies the medical profession relies upon to diagnose cancer. If your doctor did not perform or order one of these, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

— Core needle and fine needle biopsies — Endoscopic biopsies — Incisional or excisional biopsies — Skin biopsies — Laparotomy or thoracotomy — Sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsy

While it is difficult to state with absolute certainty whether your doctor should have ordered a biopsy for cancer detection, if he or she did not, it may warrant an investigation and perhaps a lawsuit. If you live in the Bergen County area of New Jersey, an attorney from Breslin & Breslin can help you decide if you need to take any type of legal action.

Source: American Cancer Society, “Types of biopsies used to look for cancer,” accessed July 22, 2015