New York Personal Injury Attorneys
What Do I Do If My Breast Cancer Was Misdiagnosed?
This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the dangers of misread mammograms that lead to misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses every year. Medical mistakes that lead to delayed cancer treatment put patients at risk for worsening symptoms, harsher medical treatment, and a higher rate of death, all of which could be prevented with a timely and accurate diagnosis.
In addition, a false-positive diagnosis could result in a patient undergoing severe and unnecessary treatment when they are in fact cancer-free. If you received a breast cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by your physician, it’s important that you consider your legal options for seeking compensation for your injuries.
How Common Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their life. Because of how prevalent breast cancer can be, it is imperative that women routinely check for signs of breast cancer and schedule a mammogram if they notice anything abnormal.
While breast cancer is fairly common, the percentage of misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses is unsettling. According to the Susan G. Komen organization, mammograms miss about 16% of breast cancer cases. On the other hand, as many as 31% of breast cancers are overdiagnosed by medical professionals, leading to unnecessary treatment.
What Qualifies as a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis?
While most mammograms accurately detect breast cancer, they are not 100% accurate. Additionally, human error exists in medicine and it is possible for radiologists to misread a mammogram even if the mammogram accurately detected abnormalities. That being said, when a radiologist misreads a mammogram or fails to account for factors that may indicate breast cancer or other harmful conditions, he or she commits medical malpractice.
For example, if a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer by their radiologist, and the breast cancer turns out to have been a false positive, the patient could undergo harsh and unnecessary treatment including chemotherapy and radiation procedures despite the fact that they do not have cancer. Even further, a patient could undergo an unnecessary mastectomy due to a false positive, leading to long-term physical and psychological trauma.
In addition, if a patient received a delayed diagnosis resulting from their radiologist misreading the mammogram, then they could be subject to worsening symptoms that could have been mitigated with an earlier diagnosis. Breast cancer that is diagnosed at Stage 1 has a 100% five-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society. However, the more advanced the stage, the lower the rate of beating cancer. A patient diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer has a 93% five-year survival. A patient diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer has a less likely chance of beating cancer: 72%. Lastly, a patient diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer only has a 22% five-year survival rate. This is ultimately why it is crucial that breast cancer is caught by a medical professional as soon as possible to begin treatment in a timely manner.
My Breast Cancer Diagnosis Was False or Delayed. What Can I Do?
A breast cancer misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis is a serious medical mistake that can lead to the preventable progression of symptoms or even death. While mistakes do happen in any profession, medical professionals have a duty to provide the highest quality care to their patients. If any room for doubt as to the accuracy of a diagnosis following a mammogram exists, the attending physician has a responsibility to order additional tests to accurately diagnose the patient. If they do not carry out this responsibility to its fullest extent, they are committing medical malpractice, and the patient who suffers as a result of the malpractice has the legal right to file a claim.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is crucial that you seek out legal representation. While the average individual may not know how to prove a defendant was negligent or violated the standard of care, a legal professional can detect potentially valuable avenues for compensation that someone with no legal training may overlook. In addition, medical malpractice lawyers know how to contact expert witnesses to help with the claim.
Ultimately, obtaining legal counsel increases your likelihood of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact the New York Attorneys at SPBMCC To Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one recently received a breast cancer diagnosis and believe a prior mammogram should have detected cancer, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your potential options for legal recourse. Contact SPBMCC today to schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer. Call (212) 732-9000 or fill out the form below.