Anyone in North Carolina who has received a cancer diagnosis knows how scary and confusing the experience can be. As many women are concerned about the threat of breast cancer, it's not uncommon for many to go through regular mammograms and receive treatment in accord with the test results.
Unfortunately, a recent British study confirmed the results of earlier American studies showing that there is a problem with properly diagnosing and treating breast cancer. This failure to accurately assess the nature of the illness may raise concerns for medical malpractice.
Though regularly scheduled mammograms have proven effective in catching breast cancer in its early stages, the results may not always be so simple. In fact, the recently published study found that for every woman saved by early detection, three patients received unnecessary treatment. Not only is cancer treatment financially costly, it is also not a pleasant experience.
The problem stems from the fact that certain types of breast cancer develop at such a slow pace that they will likely never become fatal. However, these types of cancer are detected and treated, even though the patient did not have to go through the painful process of cancer treatment.
For many years, health officials have been warning about the dangers of overtreating breast cancer, so this study is only confirming what many already know. In fact, women sometimes receive mastectomies for cancer that will never become life threatening. That's a problem.
Doctors not only have a duty to be thorough when conducting diagnostic tests, but they should also use discretion when diagnosing and creating treatment plans. When medical professionals make an error and order inappropriate treatment, patients and their families suffer. For this reason, patients deserve to know their rights in the wake of a major medical event or error.
Source: Yahoo News, "Mammograms: For 1 life saved, 3 women overtreated," Maria Cheng, Oct. 30, 2012
- Receiving news that a serious medical condition was inaccurately diagnosed is likely an unwelcome and scary experience. Our firm has the knowledge to help North Carolina patients navigate through the effects of doctor error. To learn more, please visit our failure to diagnose cancer page.