Misdiagnosis of breast cancer is one of the most frequent causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. Perhaps that has to do with its prevalence — breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women ages forty to sixty. It could also be the fact that the great majority of women whose breast cancer is detected early will survive at least 5 years; or fact that the probability of recurrence is directly related to the stage of malignancy when the breast cancer is treated. Unfortunately, obvious warning signs of breast cancer are sometimes missed by a woman's treating physician.
Negligence claims against a physician in failure to diagnose breast cancer cases can be based on failure to:
- Take an appropriate history
- Perform a breast examination
- Order a mammogram
- Identify a cancerous mass
- Correctly interpret a mammogram
- Order a biopsy for a lump identified by exam or mammography
- Correctly interpret biopsy results
- Recommend appropriate treatment options
- Follow-up with the patient.
Most breast cancer victims have a chance at recovery and survival if the cancer is caught early enough. And the medical community has the means to make an early diagnosis in almost every case. Negligent misdiagnosis of breast cancer symptoms should not be occurring. All lumps must be thoroughly investigated. No lump can be ignored. Women need to be very assertive about getting answers when a lump is discovered either during an exam or on a mammogram.