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Newton breast biopsies and failure to diagnose cancer


For women in Newton and their families, it's a part of life to receive tests to check whether or not they might show signs of breast cancer. Medical professionals universally agree that catching the disease early is often the key between a successful treatment and worsened condition. However, there are often issues with misdiagnosis of cancer leading to delayed treatment and a greater risk of mortality. Understanding the frequency of this issue and why it's necessary to seek other opinions might be part of the battle, but that doesn't assuage a doctor's culpability if a mistake is made and the patient gets sicker or even dies.

According to a new study, 1.5 million women receive a breast biopsy on an annual basis. That study, however, has indicated that less than 50 percent of the time, the diagnosis was accurate when it comes to a lesion in the woman's breast and whether or not it's cancerous. This type of misdiagnosis could result in a patient not receiving the proper treatment. In general, women receive a breast cancer diagnosis after finding a lump on their own or via a mammogram. After this happens, the doctor would perform a biopsy to determine if there is cancer present. However, the decision whether or not to move forward with a biopsy is commonly made by the pathologist.

The study in question involved 115 pathologists who were involved in nearly 7,000 diagnoses. The samples they examined had various medical issues, some cancerous and some benign. The invasive carcinoma was diagnosed 96 percent of the time. But the pathologists were only accurate if there was a lesion 48 percent of the time in comparison to non-invasive cancer and benign lesions which were between 84 and 87 percent.

Considering the danger of these pathologists making the mistake of misdiagnosed cancer, t's imperative to have a second opinion just to be certain. That doesn't help those who were told they were in the clear but really weren't and might have been subject to delayed treatment, worsened condition and even death. Those who were affected by this should discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in failure to diagnose cancer for assistance in being compensated.

Source: Medical Daily, "Breast Health: Breast Cancer Biopsies Often Misdiagnosed, May Require Second Opinion," Susan Scutti, March 20, 2015

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