Breast cancer misdiagnoses often lead to malpractice suits

As new reports have revealed that a rising number of younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, the role of radiologists in ensuring the health of women in Ohio and across the country is as important as ever.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of women under 40 with breast cancer has increased by approximately 2 percent every year since the 1970s. In 2009, 2.9 out of every 100,000 women in the U.S. between the ages of 25 to 39 were diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer.

This study was released on the heels of another report regarding breast cancer misdiagnoses, recently published in the medical journal, Radiology. According to that study, medical malpractice suits are most frequently filed against American radiologists due to diagnostic mistakes, most often dealing with breast cancer.

The study reviewed information from almost 4,800 medical malpractice claims brought against 2,680 radiologists from 47 states across the country. Diagnostic errors were the most common mistakes that led to malpractice suits, as opposed to communication errors or procedural complications.

According to the research, breast cancer misdiagnoses most frequently led to medical malpractice suits against radiologists in the U.S. In most cases, the radiologist on the case did not report lesions observable on mammography scans. In such cases, if a radiologist fails to note an abnormality on a scan, the woman is unlikely to be sent for additional testing. Consequently, these women are left with untreated breast cancer - in many cases, allowing the cancer to spread and ultimately proving more difficult to treat once detected.

Hold negligent physicians accountable for breast cancer misdiagnoses

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer that affects women in the United States, after non-melanoma skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 211,700 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2009. The same year, over 40,670 women died as a result of breast cancer.

After breast cancer diagnoses, many women require surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, according to the Mayo Clinic. When a woman does not receive prompt treatment for breast cancer, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body and ultimately lower the chances of survival.

If you have suffered complications due to a breast cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to damages for the harm caused. Consulting with a skilled medical malpractice attorney will ensure your rights are protected.