Each year, approximately 180,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer and 44,000 will die from the disease. Many of these lives could have been saved through early detection and appropriate treatment. In addition to causing preventable deaths, delays in diagnosis and medical mistakes also subject many patients to invasive procedures that could have been avoided. These medical errors involving the failure to detect breast cancer lead to a large number of medical malpractice suits.
Signs and Symptoms
Monthly self-exams are essential for women of all ages. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, 45 percent of breast cancer cases are first detected by the patient. The good news is that 80 percent of physical symptoms are not cancerous, but you should always contact your doctor if you have any of the following conditions associated with your breasts.
- Lumps or bumps
- Redness and rashes
- Changes in skin tone
Diagnosing Breast Cancer
- Annual mammography is an important first-line screening process.
- Lumps detected during a mammogram or self-exam can be visualized with ultrasound.
- MRIs can provide a detailed picture of lumps and potentially cancerous cells.
- Biopsies and lab tests are essential for identifying abnormal cells and assessing the stage of the cancer.
Medical Negligence in Breast Cancer Cases
A thorough screening program should detect all types of breast cancer, but that’s not the case. Radiologists frequently make mistakes interpreting mammography and MRI findings. A 2013 Applied Radiology study found that 75 percent of missed breast cancers were visible on previous mammograms. Pathologists commit medical negligence when improperly examining cancerous tumors, tissue and cells. These mistakes can lead to a delayed or all out missed breast cancer diagnosis.
Even when breast cancer is properly detected through screening, Oncologists may fail to adequately treat the cancer through appropriate chemotherapy, radiation or other therapies. Patients shouldn’t be forced to endure invasive surgery, ongoing chemotherapy and other costly treatments when the technology is readily available to make accurate diagnoses during the cancer’s earliest stages.
The Mabrey Firm has extensive experience in handling medical malpractice cases involving missed breast cancer diagnoses. If you or someone you love have suffered injuries as a result of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose or properly treat breast cancer, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.