What Is Considered Cancer Damage?

Understanding cancer damage can help you if your loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer and you are concerned about how to proceed and your options.

Many different things can happen to you once you’re diagnosed with cancer, and you’ll likely have questions about all of them. If you think that you have suffered cancer damage because of medical malpractice, like misdiagnosis, or as a side effect of using some kind of medication or device, you might also have grounds to pursue a route in that way.

Cancer can happen for many different reasons. The research behind cancer is certainly increasing, but there are also a lot of things doctors don’t yet know, including some aspects of what is considered cancer damage. What doctors and patients do know is that a cancer diagnosis can have serious consequences for months or even years of a patient’s life. It can be very hard to learn the news that you or someone you know has cancer and you might be educating yourself about cancer damage right now in an effort to better understand their circumstances.

Understanding Cancer

Cancer damage is that damage caused by a diagnosis of cancer in which body cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other locations within the body. It's important to know that cancer can start practically anywhere in the human body because there are trillions of cells inside each person. Normally, human cells multiply and grow to form new cells when the body needs them. When cells become damaged or older new cells take their place and those old cells die. However, this process can break down which can lead to what is considered cancer damage. This is when abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn't. Unfortunately, these cells can form tumors or lumps of tissue. Not every tumor is cancerous as some can be benign or not cancerous. Cancerous tumors become problematic as far as a diagnosis and can turn into what is considered cancer damage when they invade or spread into nearby tissues. These tumors can travel to distant places in the body to form new tumors through a process known as metastasis. Cancerous tumors can also be referred to as malignant tumors. Benign tumors are not as problematic for a person who has these because those tumors do not invade or spread into nearby tissues. Benign tumors also have a tendency not to grow back when they are removed whereas a cancerous tumor may come back.

Are Cells Damaged?

When searching for what is considered cancer damage, you may want to make a distinction between normal cells and cancer cells. Cancer cells have a couple of differentiating factors when compared to normal cells. Cancer cells can trick the immune system into keeping these abnormal or damaged cells alive and growing. Cancer cells can also accumulate multiple changes in chromosomes and grow even though they are not receiving any signals telling them to grow. This is in comparison to normal cells which only grow when they receive appropriate signals. 

Cancer cells lean into these abnormal behaviors so much that it is impossible for those cells to survive and thrive without them. This can lead to the development of cancer and what is considered cancer damage. Cancer is a genetic disease, meaning that it is caused by changes in the genes that control the way cells grow and divide. The body will typically eliminate cells with damaged DNA before those cells turn cancerous but the body's ability to do this decreases as people get older, which is why there is a higher chance of getting cancer later in life. 

Cancer damage can lead to serious symptoms and problems for the person who has been diagnosed with cancer. Furthermore, this person is also exposed to the side effects connected to cancer treatments, which can only make the recovery process that much harder. While many treatments for cancer can minimize the cancer damage symptoms or make the chances of survival much higher, they come with their own set of risks. This is why it is so hard to cope when you realize that you or someone you know got cancer because of a workplace exposure or other issue. 

Physical Side Effects: What Is Considered Cancer Damage?

There are physical side effects of cancer to be mindful of when facing changes in your body. Some of the most common impacts of cancer treatment include cancer recurrence, bone loss in the form of osteoporosis, bruising and bleeding and anemia. Even someone who has survived an initial diagnosis of cancer has the possibility of facing future cancer. 

Cancer treatments used to address the underlying cancer can also increase the chances that a patient will develop a new form of cancer. This is why it is important for someone who has already been diagnosed with cancer to go through regular screenings. 

Osteoporosis or bone loss can be caused by treatments like chemotherapy as well as cancer itself. Bone density screenings are recommended to identify when osteoporosis has taken hold. Bruising and bleeding are primarily associated with targeted therapies and chemotherapy. These treatments for cancer delete the cells that clot blood. Blood clotting is an important way to stop bleeding in the human body, so when these platelets are damaged or weakened in number, this can leave patients vulnerable to bleeding and bruising. Anemia can also be caused by certain cancer types or treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy. 

Other patients might develop more mild but still problematic cancer damage side effects like eye problems, constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, and dry mouth. Hearing loss, heart issues, fatigue, hypothyroidism, infection, incontinence, infertility, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, organ damage, and general pain are other symptoms associated with cancer damage. Coping with a cancer diagnosis is very difficult which is why you might wish to consult with more than one doctor to determine the possible treatment options available to you. Although attacking the underlying cancer and giving you the best possible chance for survival is a primary goal, you also need to keep in mind that various cancer treatments could also potentially cause further damage themselves. 

Far too many patients find themselves living with long-term or permanent consequences associated with cancer damage because of the treatments they have used. These important considerations should only be made with the help of an experienced medical professional and under the guidance provided by your family. If you find yourself in this situation, do not wait to get help from an experienced lawyer to evaluate your rights to file a case based on cancer damage.       

Some instances of cancer have unknown causes or roots. Some people carry higher genetic risks for certain types of cancer damage. In general, additional screening and awareness can help those people be mindful of the possibility of cancer.

When Is Someone Else Responsible for My Cancer?

There is not always a direct explanation for why a person develops cancer. Any family member who has witnessed a loved one who is in relatively good health and has no other major medical conditions but has recently been diagnosed with cancer can attest to this. In some circumstances, cancer can be traced back to specific behaviors or exposure risks. Increasingly, however, the rate of cancer damage will increase based on someone's exposure to dangerous materials or as a side effect of taking a defective medication. These circumstances can be especially alarming because the patient had no idea about these risks at the time. 

One example might be people who work in areas in which they were exposed to asbestos. Although older materials like lead and asbestos are no longer found in new builds, someone doing home constructions or Renovations might discover that they have released dangerous asbestos fibers into the air when carrying out these tasks. Over time, these asbestos fibers can build up and turn into cancer damage. Other examples include the very high rates of people who were in the Ground Zero area after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks who have developed a broad range of cancers afterward. This is because when dangerous chemicals and toxins are released into the air, they can be breathed by humans and turn into long-term consequences with cancer. 

In those circumstances, the victim might also have to consider whether or not they need to file a lawsuit against someone to recover compensation. The medical expenses associated with treating cancer and its aftermath can be extensive. This also takes a physical and emotional toll on the person with cancer and on the entire family. Given that cancer damage can have far-reaching consequences, it is beneficial to attempt to trace back the reasons why a loved one might have developed cancer in the first place. 

Sadly, far too many people have experienced the damage of cancer firsthand. If this applies to you, you might need to get medical treatment but also speak with a lawyer if you think you have grounds for a legal claim. If you think you’re ready to take your next steps and explore your legal options, you can contact Morgan & Morgan, the country’s largest personal injury law firm, to receive a free case evaluation to get started.