Massey & D Massey, P.C.
Failure to diagnose Breast Cancer

The Massey Law Firm, P.C.
Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

The statistics are frightening. More than 10 percent of woman will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, and it is the leading cause of death in women ages 40 to 60. However, the news on early diagnosis is encouraging. About 85 percent of women whose breast cancer is detected early will survive at least five years

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of breast cancer is the most frequent cause of medical malpractice claims. A delay in diagnosis and treatment can greatly effect the chances of recovery and long term survival. When breast cancer goes undetected and untreated, it might advance to a more deadly stage, increasing the risk of harm to the patient. A delay that results in a Stage 4 diagnosis rather than an early Stage 1 diagnosis can drop survival rates more than 80 percent. In addition, a delay in diagnosis may result in additional painful and disfiguring treatment, such as chemotherapy or a mastectomy.

Negligence by physicians in diagnosing and treating breast caner includes:

    * Failure to investigate a patient's complaint of typical breast cancer    symptoms, such as a suspicious mass, nipple discharge, a painful    breast or a reddened breast.
    * Failure to perform a breast examination.
    * Failure to identify an obvious lump during a breast examination.
    * Failure to distinguish between a tumor and an infection.
    * Wrongly diagnosing a tumor as benign.
    * Failure to recommend breast removal.
    * Failure to order a mammogram.
    * Relying exclusively on a mammogram in place of a breast    examination.
    * Misreading a mammogram.
    * Failure to follow up on mammogram findings.
    * Failure to order a biopsy.
    * Failure to order ultrasound when indicated.
    * Failure to follow-up with a patient.
    The question in each case is not exclusively whether the physician was negligent. Instead, the main issue is whether the negligence caused the delay in treatment and an unnecessary advancement in the stages of breast cancer.

    Copyright 2008 Lexis Nexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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