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Malpractice in Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

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Breast cancer affects about one in eight women in the United States. That means about 12 percent of women will be diagnosed with an invasive type of breast cancer in the course of their lives. Although there is no way to prevent breast cancer completely, every woman in Delaware County should be aware of the risks she has for contracting the cancer and the resources she has available for screening and, if possible, early detection.

An active resource in the community is the Little Red Door Cancer Agency. Their mission is to provide free programs to assist all cancer patients in their battle with the disease. The Little Red Door meets women and men where they are and helps facilitate how they are applying their health insurance for screening services.

Indiana University is also helping Indiana breast cancer patients have “access to doctors and experts in medical oncology” and clinical trials, as told to Indiana Public Radio by Dean Jay Hess of Indiana University School of Medicine. The school is creating a center to target aggressive, hard-to-treat, invasive breast cancers that impact young, black, and Latina women. The goal is to be able to continue research for this type of cancer while providing women in Indiana with access to medical trials and clinics.

How Breast Cancer is Diagnosed

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When a woman feels a lump or when a mammogram yields an abnormality, breast cancer is usually the first suspect. However, it’s important to remember that not every abnormality in breast tissue is cancerous. Follow-up appointments are often necessary to determine the source of the abnormality.

Sometimes, cancer can be eliminated with another mammogram or other image testing that incorporates different techniques. In other cases, a needle or surgical biopsy may be advised. The difference between a needle and surgical biopsy is simply the method; the former is removing tissue or cell samples with a needle while the latter is done surgically.

If the results of the biopsy are cancerous, there will be additional tests conducted on the tissue sample that was removed, and the lymph nodes in the woman’s body will be sampled for further testing. This is to determine the woman’s chance for recovery.

The likelihood of recovery is based on two factors: the size of the woman’s tumor or lesion at the time of diagnosis, and if it has spread to the lymph nodes in her body. If a diagnosis is delayed, the cancer is more likely to be larger and to have spread to other areas in the body. Either one being the case, premature death has increased by then and aggressive treatment— radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery— is required.

How Medical Malpractice Can Happen

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There are common mistakes that can prolong the diagnosis of breast cancer; some include:

  • Improperly reading mammograms
  • Failing to recommend routine screenings
  • Failing to schedule mammograms for women who are at an increased risk of cancer
  • Failing to perform additional testing of suspicious lumps
  • Failing to seek medical consultation of experts

From these mistakes, additional harm can be brought on to the patient. In addition to physical harm, there is also financial harm that can be suffered. Types of harm that are brought on by the delayed breast cancer diagnosis include:

  • Severe pain
  • Premature death
  • Loss of function in breasts and other organs
  • Disfigurement
  • Cost of treatment
  • An inoperable cancer
  • Lost wages
  • Aggressive treatment
  • Extended recovery time
  • Possible disability

Consult a Muncie Medical Malpractice Attorney

Although it is hard to prove negligence and causation of a breast cancer misdiagnosis to have a successful malpractice case, it is not impossible. Each case is different, but typically falls under the category of a malignant lump misdiagnosed as noncancerous or not found in the first place. Establishing grounds for a case is difficult, but partnering with the right law firm can make all the difference. If you think you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, call the attorneys at Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for your free consultation.