Breast cancer affected more than 192,000 women in 2010 and claimed 40,000 lives. Like many diseases, early detection and treatment is often the key to survival. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in Georgia and the second leading cause of death. The failure to diagnose breast cancer promptly can be devastating and may reduce the chances that treatment will be successful
Medical negligence may also accelerate the spread of breast cancer. In one case, a healthy 60-year-old woman had a routine mammogram. When her left breast was compressed she complained of severe pain and asked the technician to stop the procedure. When the technician continued the procedure, the woman suffered a painful rupture, which left her breast bruised and swollen.
Later mammography analysis revealed abnormality in both breasts. The woman decided to wait to follow up until the pain and swelling in her breast subsided. However, it remained inflamed. Two months later, an ultrasound detected a large mass near the injury, and she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. After chemotherapy, radiation and a mastectomy, the woman thought she was cancer-free. However, the cancer soon returned.
A medical expert later found that the trauma suffered during the mammogram accelerated the growth of a small cancer that would not have manifested itself until much later. This case illustrates what can occur when breast cancer is not diagnosed immediately and treatment is delayed.
Failure to diagnose breast cancer in a timely manner may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. A complete set of certified medical records is necessary for an experienced attorney to review in determining whether a malpractice claim might exist. Any notes kept following medical appointments, as well as comments made by doctors and nurses and compliance with diagnostic tests and follow-up appointments are also helpful.
Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis can be incredibly traumatic. When a diagnosis is missed or treatment is not commenced immediately seek a second opinion. After getting the second opinion and starting treatment, contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding the possible missed diagnosis or delayed treatment.