Going to the doctor for a checkup allows you to report changes and concerns. Sharing symptoms helps your doctor chart a course forward.

There are times when the doctor may not pursue these, saying your physical exam and bloodwork show nothing of concern. What if, later on, you find out you have cancer, and the doctor missed it? There is a difference between making a mistake and failing to diagnose. When the doctor does not investigate the signs that something is wrong, he or she is accountable.

A failure to diagnose

Doctors make mistakes, but that differs from a failure to act. This is especially true in the case of a later diagnosis of a chronic condition or one that is time-sensitive. While doctors may genuinely miss the signs of cancer, if they do not use every tool at their disposal to help a patient feel better, it may qualify as malpractice.

A missed opportunity

Cancer is still a relative mystery to the scientific community. While there are risk factors associated with its development, there is no set way to predict its onset. The medical community knows that cancer treatment and recovery are more successful the sooner a doctor finds it. When a doctor fails to follow up on patient concerns and later finds cancer, it may equal a missed opportunity to treat.

Advocating for your health is crucial. When a doctor insists there is nothing wrong, even when you believe otherwise, it may rise to malpractice. Continue advocating for yourself in the face of a missed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose.