When an Iowa patient is diagnosed with a bone tumor in the foot, he or she may be aware that the majority of bone tumors are benign. However, while they are rare, malignant bone cancers can occur. Because malignant bone tumors can be aggressive, a timely diagnosis is needed.
In some cases, bone tumors can be completely painless. This can cause them to go undetected until another foot injury, such as a sprain, can cause the tumor to become painful. Patients who have been diagnosed with bone tumors often describe the pain from tumors to be a dull ache. Other symptoms, in addition to pain, can include cosmetic concerns, such as lumps or bumps on the foot, footwear problems and numbness. Paraesthesia, or the feeling of pins and needles, is also common.
When diagnosing a potential bone tumor, the doctor should rule out other conditions. For example, stress fractures and infections can also have similar symptoms. A physical examination allows the doctor to determine the size, location and tenderness of the tumor. Other parts of the body may be examined if there is fear that the bone tumor is malignant and has metastasized. Radiographic testing, magnetic resonance imaging or a biopsy may also be utilized to make an accurate diagnosis.
If a bone tumor is misdiagnosed and the patient suffers a worsened medical condition as a result, the patient may be facing a poorer prognosis than if he or she had been properly diagnosed. A medical malpractice attorney could review a patient's case and determine if the erroneous diagnosis amounted to a breach by the practitioner or facility of the required standard of care.