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Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Upstate New York Cancer Malpractice Law Firm

Breast cancer screening requires a doctor to check your breasts before you come to the doctor with signs or symptoms reflective of the disease. Your doctor should have told you what the best screening options you have are. She should have told you about benefits and risks of screening as well. You can then make an informed decision about whether a screening is appropriate for you and when to get screened. If you are concerned that you were harmed by your doctor’s failure to abide by breast cancer screening guidelines, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We seek the best results after a failure to diagnose cancer that causes injuries or wrongful death.

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines in Syracuse

Various organizations have breast cancer screening guidelines. Organizations with these guidelines include the United States Preventative Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force is an organization composed of doctors and disease experts who examine research about how to prevent diseases and make recommendations about how doctors may assist patients in avoiding diseases or finding them early on. When you’re at average risk for breast cancer and between the ages of 50 – 74, the organization recommends mammograms every two years. Your situation is more ambiguous when you are between ages 40-49. You should weigh benefits and risks of screening when determining whether you need a mammogram prior to age 50.

Generally, however, the earlier breast cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.


Mammograms are X-rays of breasts. Often, a mammogram can detect breast cancer very early in the disease process. Regular mammograms can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. This screening method is considered one of the best to screen for cancer. However, sometimes cancers are still missed in mammograms. If your doctor failed to use a mammogram when one was appropriate, we may be able to sue for medical malpractice.

Breast MRI

Breast MRIs are appropriate in some instances where your risk for getting breast cancer is higher than normal. They employ radio waves and magnets to produce images of the breast. Sometimes breast MRIs do seem abnormal even when no cancer is present, so it is not a good tool for detective a woman who has average risks for the disease. If, for instance, you were diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer due to a breast MRI, and then it is discovered you do not have cancer, our lawyers may be able to sue for damages.

Clinical Breast Exam

Clinical breast exams are conducted by doctors and nurses who search for lumps or other alterations to patients’ breasts. Generally, clinical breast exams and self-exams of breasts aren’t considered to lower the risks of dying from breast cancer, but they should still be done to catch the disease as early as possible.


Not every failure to follow breast cancer screening guidelines constitutes malpractice. Rather, we’ll need to prove the defendant: (1) owed you a professional standard of care, (2) departed from the professional standard of care, (3) in so departing caused your injuries, and (4) you were left with actual damages.

Doctors are required to abide by the professional standard of care, but this can vary depending on the specialty and location of the doctor in question. New York follows the locality rule. This means we will need to retain an expert who can credibly testify as to what a reasonably competent family care physician or oncologist or other specialized doctor would have done to screen you for breast cancer under similar circumstances. For instance, if a reasonably competent Syracuse family care physician would have followed the American Cancer Society guidelines, which require you to be screened with a yearly mammogram, but yours didn’t, such that you required much more painful and significant treatments, there may be a basis to sue.

Risks of Screenings

There are also risks involved in screenings. For instance, sometimes screening returns a false positive test result. A doctor could see something that seems to be cancer but isn’t and that could result in additional unneeded tests or even painful procedures. There are instances in which doctors find breast cancers that wouldn’t have turned into malignancies. The results can involve improper treatments that have significant side effects. For instance, repeated X-rays can carry their own risks of cancer.

Hire Syracuse Trial Lawyers to Represent You in a Breast Cancer Malpractice Case

If you were harmed by a failure to follow breast cancer screening guidelines in Upstate New York, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent clients in Lowville, Rochester, Auburn, Watertown, Herkimer, Oswego, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Utica, Binghamton, and Elmira. Fill out our online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

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