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Early Diagnosis Is the Key to Beating Breast Cancer

Published October 15, 2015 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney
At Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, we want you to focus on getting better – and we’ll handle everything else.

A recent study by the American Cancer Society found that roughly 1.6 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed throughout America every year. New York comes in third, just behind Florida and California, with an estimated 107,840 newly reported cases in 2015.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types. This terrifying disease takes over 40,000 lives annually. Sadly, many of those lives could be saved through early detection. Worse yet, incorrect caner diagnoses are more prevalent than you may realize.

Doctors Struggle with Misdiagnosis

Another study illustrated shocking statistics regarding physicians’ abilities to diagnose breast cancer. Out of 115 pathologists who participated in the study, they were only able to properly reach a diagnosis three out of four times. When it came to DCIS and benign lesions, the doctors were accurate about 84 to 87 percent of the time. The study also revealed that when it came to atypia, they were correct just 48 percent of the time.

Implications of Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

Given that approximately 231,840 new cases of breast cancer are identified every year, with around 62,000 of those being carcinoma in situ (CIS), the implications of these studies led researchers to conclude that women should seek second opinions. This mirrors the advice given by providers and consumer advocate groups alike. If early intervention is the key, and accurate diagnosis rates are so low, it only makes sense that you should consult several doctors before being satisfied.

Typical Causes of Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer

When looking at what went wrong, cancer misdiagnosis attorneys often see trends in terms of mistakes that physicians make. For instance, physicians may fail to properly document clinical problems. They may fail to use proper guidelines or consult with other professionals, when doing so would be essential to a correct diagnosis. Physicians might also fail to adequately document a patient’s full medical history. Given the hereditary nature of breast cancer, this can be a critical error.

Sometimes physicians are too narrow in their testing measures and focus on such a small or limited range of potential conditions that they miss the real diagnosis entirely. Finally, it can be as simple as performing the wrong tests. In fact, some women are even diagnosed with cancer and undergo painful and disfiguring mastectomies, only to later discover they never even had cancer. Naturally, there can be a host of other issues that lead to an incorrect cancer diagnosis, but these are just a few examples.

What You Can Do About Breast Cancer

While genetics are a big factor, so is lifestyle and early detection. Research repeatedly tells us that early detection greatly improves the chance of beating the disease. This is why it is so important to perform regular self-exams to watch out for signs of lumps or tumors.

Cancer.org explains that vigilant self-exams save lives. Experts recommend checking for the following abnormalities when giving a self-exam:

  • Make sure there are no abnormalities, such as changes in:
    • Size
    • Shape
    • Color
  • Uneven sides
  • Distortion
  • Swelling
  • Bulging
  • Dimpling
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Unusual pressure
  • Secretion from the nipples, which resembles lactation.

When checking for lumps, you may find it easiest to do so in the shower when the skin is wet and pliable.

What to Do If You Suspect Breast Cancer

If you suspect that you may have cancer, it is imperative you seek medical attention immediately. This is not the sort of thing you want to put off to another day. And if your physician performs tests and determines you are cancer-free, given the statistics on misdiagnosis, you owe it to yourself to obtain at least one second opinion, perhaps several. You must give yourself the best fighting chance possible.

If, however, you were told you did not have cancer and discovered months or even years later that you indeed do have cancer, despite your physician’s incorrect diagnosis, you should promptly contact local Binghamton breast cancer misdiagnosis attorney Scott C. Gottlieb who can review the facts of your case to determine whether your physician has deprived you of your greatest opportunity for recovery. Since time limits on filing a lawsuit are very strict, it is important to have a strong advocate on your side who understands breast cancer diagnosis and is willing to fight for your rights.

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