I have been reading in the press about a recent medical malpractice settlement surrounding prostate cancer. Briefly, a man went to his primary care physician who, along with other tests, performed a DRE and PSA test.

The doctor failed to inform his patient about the negative test results which were indicative of a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Three years after these tests were performed the man found out that he had advanced prostate cancer, the cancer had escaped the capsule.

The assumption was that if the doctor had informed his patient that he had a raised PSA and a negative DRE at the time of the original test his cancer might have been treated while it still remained in the gland and possibly curable.

Having lost the opportunity to cure the cancer, the doctor’s malpractice insurer has paid a settlement of $500,000.

Failing to inform men of negative results is no different than not providing PSA tests. PSA tests must be made available when requested and physicians must take prostate cancer seriously.

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW