The Law Offices of Charles Dunn
Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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How doctors diagnose nasopharyngeal cancer

Doctors throughout Texas and elsewhere in the country perform a range of tests to diagnose cancer and determine if it has spread, or metastasized, to other areas in the body. The most basic way to diagnose cancer is a physical examination and blood test. The only sure way to detect most common cancers is with a biopsy. This procedure involves removing a small amount of tissue for pathologists to analyze.

Nasopharyngeal cancer affects the nasopharynx, which is the upper part of the throat just behind the nose. While it is a rare form of cancer, treatment options are the same as with any other form. Besides the two options mentioned above, doctors can perform basic tests, like X-rays. To obtain a clearer view of the mouth and throat, they often coat the area with barium.

Doctors also can use thin, lighted tubes called endoscopes to examine the nasopharynx for tumors. The process is called a nasopharyngoscopy, which is a combination of nasopharynx and endoscopy. Doctors can detect tumors as well as measure their size with a CT scan. In order to get more detailed results, they sometimes have the patient ingest contrast media, which usually is in liquid form. CT scans can be combined with PET scans, which trace the absorption of a radioactive sugar substance. An MRI scan is similar to a CT scan, but it uses magnetic fields instead of X-rays.

The failure to diagnose nasopharyngeal cancer could be considered a sign of negligence. If someone suffers as a result of this negligence, such as the cancer spreads when it could have been avoided, then he or she may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. A lawyer may assist by determining if there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and showing that the patient followed the doctor's every instruction. Afterwards, an attorney can negotiate a settlement or litigate.

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