Study: Doctors May Err in Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women and is the cause of roughly 40,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, this year alone, more than 231,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Some of those will receive a breast cancer misdiagnosis.
When it comes to any type of cancer, time is of the essence. In some cases, prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment can literally mean the difference between life and death. These reasons make the results of a recent study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that much more concerning.
For the study, researchers examined how 115 pathologists diagnosed 240 breast tissue biopsies some of which were cancerous or contained pre-cancerous cells. Based on the results of the study, researchers noted that pathologists often erred when dealing with precancerous and even normal cells.
Effects of Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
When a biopsy reveals the presence of precancerous cells, the recommended medical treatment may include medication and frequent monitoring. However, the study’s findings revealed that in 17 percent of cases involving precancerous cells, doctors misdiagnosed the patient as having a more serious condition. Additionally, doctors misdiagnosed patients as having breast cancer when they did not in 13 percent of cases.
While the participants in this study were very good at diagnosing when a woman had a serious form of breast cancer, the same was not true when it came to precancerous or normal cells. Cases involving misdiagnosis of a disease like breast cancer may result in an individual undergoing unnecessary and invasive treatments that are physically and financially crippling.
New Yorkers who have experienced a misdiagnosis of a medical condition or illness may choose to discuss their case with an attorney. We invite you to contact our law office by calling 212-869-3500 if you have questions or concerns.
Data Source: CBS Boston, “Study: Biopsy Specialists Frequently Misdiagnose Breast Tissue,” Lindsey Tanner, March 17, 2015
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