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How Errors By Your Physician Might Result in A Delay In The Detection Of Your Breast Cancer

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Author: Joseph Hernandez


Situations involving the delayed detection of breast cancer typically involve 1 or 2 medical errors - failing to do diagnostic tests to exclude the possibility of cancer when a lump is felt in the breast and misreading a mammogram. If a physician makes one of these mistakes and in so doing delays the diagnosis of the cancer until it metastasizes, she might have a lawsuit for medical malpractice. The first error made by physicians is not to order a diagnostic test when a female patient informs the doctor that she discovered a lump while doing a self-conducted breast examination or the doctor finds the mass during a screening clinical breast examination. Some doctors will tell the woman that this is just a noncancerous cyst, commonly if she is under forty and does not have a of breast cancer in her family.

Unfortunately, even though the majority of new incidents of breast cancer happen in females older than 50, younger women can, and are, diagnosed with breast cancer regularly. Additionally, it is not possible to establish, using only a clinical breast examination, whether a mass in the breast is a benign cyst or a cancerous mass. This is why a doctor ought to order diagnostic testing in order to establish whether the mass is cancerous. Tests that can be ordered are a mammogram, a biopsy or an aspiration.

Should the woman actually have breast cancer, not ordering diagnostic testing may lead to the growth and spread of the cancer.

The other mistake made by doctors is to misread a mammogram. Doctors use mammograms to check the breast for abnormalities that could be due to cancer. The mammogram makes images of the inside of the breast with x-rays of the woman's compressed breast. The resulting images are then examined by doctors for the presence of abnormalities that could be cancerous. Unfortunately, physicians occasionally overlook what is literally in front of them. Sometimes physicians overlook an abnormality that turns up in the mammogram. In some other cases, physicians improperly diagnose an abnormal structure or change as benign without recommending any diagnostic examination , for example, a biopsy to exclude the possibility of cancer.

Either of the errors described above can cause a delay in the detection of the woman's cancer. The longer the detection of breast cancer is delayed, the more likely it is that the cancer will spread and reach an advanced stage. When the cancer becomes advanced, the treatment alternatives for the patient are more restricted. In addition, her 5-year survival rate, the probability that she will be alive at least five years after her diagnosis, even with treatment, lessens considerably.

At Stage III, it is approximately 55%. By Stage IV, it can be as low as 20%. If the cancer had been detected early, the 5-year survival rate would have been over 80 percent, potentially as high as over ninety five percent if it had been detected early enough.

Medical errors can result in deadly effects. This is particularly true for patients with cancer. The delay in diagnosis can end in the loss of the breast, reduced treatment possibilities, and in some cases, may be even lead to the death of the woman. Under such circumstances, errors like those described above may amount to malpractice

About the author: Joseph Hernandez is an Attorney accepting medical malpractice cases. You can learn more about advanced breast cancer and prostatecancer by visiting the websites


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