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Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Diagnosing breast cancer in a timely manner can, quite literally, mean the difference between life and death for many women. The 5-year survival rate for a woman with Stage 0 or Stage I breast cancer is nearly 100%, yet by the time cancer reaches Stage IV, the survival rates drop down to about 22%. Your healthcare team has the responsibility to take all actions possible to ensure you receive a rapid diagnosis of breast cancer, so treatment can commence as quickly as possible. Not all breast cancer starts with a lump, and sometimes breast cancer is detected on a screening mammogram that finds cancer at a stage prior to its being felt. Most of the time, women are the ones who get breast cancer. However, it is possible for men to get breast cancer. A healthcare provider should examine any lump or change in the breast.

Delayed breast cancer diagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. The claim arises when the physician, typically a family practitioner, surgeon, dermatologist, obstetrician, or gynecologist discount or fail to recognize the severity, the physician fails to properly read radiology, or a physician or hospital fails to report the results or follow-up with the patient.  Cancer then grows and advances to more critical stages that require more severe treatment such as a mastectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy than would have been required had the cancer been diagnosed earlier. Moreover, cancer can infiltrate the lymph nodes and cause a greater chance of recurrence further decreasing the chance of survival. Aside from some forms of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, regardless of race or ethnicity.  Screening can improve outcomes. Early detection reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer and can lead to a greater range of treatment options and lower healthcare costs.

Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Of those, around 42,000 die per year as a result.  The stats are high, and early detection is the best way to prevent cases from becoming as extreme. Breast cancer is hard to treat and therefore requires as much time as possible to explore the range of treatment options. Medical malpractice and the failure of a physician to diagnose breast cancer can lead to devastating results. If your breast cancer worsens due to failure to diagnose, you’re entitled to seek legal compensation. Enlist the help of lawyers who are experts in dealing with injuries from medical malpractice to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.   If you believe you’ve been harmed by a misdiagnosis related to breast cancer, the experienced Upstate New York medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can assess your case.  We help clients throughout the Upstate New York area with offices in multiple convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the medical malpractice field is reflected in the results we have achieved for our clients.

Failure to diagnose breast cancer may be because of a failure to conduct the appropriate tests, misinterpretation of a mammogram, or an inappropriate differential diagnosis. The risk of developing breast cancer is strongly related to family history and genetics. One of the essential questions a physician can ask a patient is about any health problems faced by their relatives, especially cancer. Questions like this are part of completing a full medical history of a patient. If anyone within the family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, they should immediately have a blood test to determine if they have one of the BRCA genes, making them more susceptible to breast cancer. Not following this process can lead to failure to diagnose. There are many different types of physicians involved in the process, from screening to treating breast cancer. As the patient is passed around between physicians, miscommunication could end in failure to diagnose. If the primary care physician notices a specific area of concern and orders a mammogram but doesn’t specify the area of concern, then the radiologist may miss it. With the possibility of human error, there can be miscommunication between physicians at various stages. It’s incredibly important that all parties involved, including the primary care physician, radiologist, and surgeon, stay in close contact until all concerns are addressed. If they don’t, it could lead to failure to diagnose breast cancer.

A failure to diagnose or the misdiagnosis of breast cancer can cause serious harm to a patient, and can even cost them their life. If you were harmed by a failure to diagnose breast cancer, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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