Texas residents who undergo a lung scan or chest X-ray and are told of an abnormality may believe they have cancer, but this could be wrong. In fact, the American Thoracic Society says that half of adults who get a chest X-ray or CT scan are found to have a nodule, a mass that’s often due to an irritation or to scar tissue from an old infection. Nodules are normally small and rarely cause pain or breathing problems.
Unfortunately, when people at high risk for lung cancer are screened and these nodules appear, they tend to receive a false positive. As part of the National Lung Screening Trial, nearly a quarter of the 54,000 participants who were screened had an abnormal finding. Yet 96% of these patients did not have lung cancer.
Modules can be benign or malignant, the risk for the latter being higher when the patient is a heavy smoker. Modules that are 10 centimeters or larger or have ragged edges can be malignant, too. Those with benign modules may still be harmed through unnecessary invasive treatments. For example, a biopsy done on a module could lead to patients suffering an infection or a collapsed lung. Others may undergo repeated CT scanning and get an excessive dose of radiation as a result.
Those who are harmed in this way because of a diagnostic error may have a valid case under medical malpractice law, but they may want a lawyer and his or her team of investigators to look into the case. Malpractice cases can end in the highest settlements in the whole field of personal injury law, so it’s not surprising that these cases meet strong opposition. With a lawyer, victims may be able to present a strong case and receive adequate compensation for their injuries.