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Brain metastases diagnosis and medical malpractice

Many Kentucky residents will face a battle with cancer at some point during their lives. According to a new study, researchers have identified three primary risk factors for brain metastases among extensive disease small-cell lung cancer (ED-SLC) patients. These findings could help medical providers identify patients who would benefit from prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) treatment.

The study looked at 190 patients with ED-SLC who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans during their treatments. PCI was used in 27.9% of patients. At follow-up exams at approximately 10 months, patients with extrathoracic metastases, hypermetabolism of bone marrow of spleen and those with high neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio were all at high risk of development of brain metastases.

PCI treatment among these high-risk patients was found to significantly improve brain metastases-free one-year survival rates (94.7% compared to 62.1%). There was no significant difference identified among low-risk patients who received PCI treatment. Researchers found no difference in survival rates for patients who received PCI and were at high risk for metastases not involving the brain.

Researchers noted that their findings were limited due to the small number of patients studied. They concluded that “selective use of PCI in ED-SCLC according to the risk stratification is recommended” but added that more studies are needed to validate their findings.

Failure to diagnose and properly treat a medical condition is one type of health care malpractice. Medical providers are required to keep themselves informed of the latest research and provide treatments that adhere to the standard of care for their specialty.

An experienced attorney could help a client who did not receive the correct diagnosis or treatment for their condition. For example, legal counsel may be able to argue that failing to provide a treatment that has been adopted as a widespread practice among oncologists for certain high-risk patients falls below the standard of care.