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Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Early detection of breast cancer is crucial — it can mean the difference between life and death. Sadly, our breast cancer lawyers have had to confront the unfortunate fact that many women end up suffering and even losing their lives due to breast cancer misdiagnosis. The failure to diagnose cancer is usually because a test was not done or a doctor or other medical professional misread the test results or missed the signs that should have lead to an accurate diagnosis. A typical example of this in breast cancer malpractice cases occurs when the radiologist misreads a mammogram.

Breast cancer is curable. There are approximately 3 million living breast cancer survivors that can attest to this. But the consequences of breast cancer misdiagnosis can be serious and often fatal because early detection is often a breast cancer patient’s best hope of defeating the disease. Detection of cancer at its later stages increases the risk of death significantly for many types of cancer. The difference between Stage I and Stage IV drops survival rates by over 80%, according to some studies. Again, breast cancer survival rates are strongly correlated with early detection and treatment.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women today (after lung cancer), but early detection can stop the cancer in its tracks. When breast cancer is detected early and confined to the breast the five-year survival rate approaches 100%. Ten percent of American women will contract breast cancer in the United States. Some of these breast cancer deaths could have been avoided if a doctor had properly diagnosed the patient.

Since there has been major progress in terms of public education about the value of early detection by patients through self-examination, the fact that many health care professionals are negligent in making a timely diagnosis — resulting in the cancer progressing without proper treatment — makes breast cancer malpractice issues even more devastating.

Breast cancer in a medical malpractice case often centers on a health care professional ignoring the warning signs and not ordering the proper testing to detect the disease in the early stages. Often times, a woman may find a lump upon self-examination only to be told by her physician that it is nothing to worry about, and doesn’t warrant further testing. Not heeding a patient’s complaints, failing to identify an obvious lump during an exam, failing to order a mammogram, not performing a biopsy, failing to order an ultrasound, and misreading and/or not following up with the patient are all examples of errors on behalf of health care professionals that can often indicate that medical malpractice has occurred. Unfortunately, in an aggressive disease such as breast cancer, a delay in providing a timely and accurate diagnosis can lead to needless suffering, the loss of a breast and, often, death that may have been prevented with earlier detection and proper medical care.

The breast cancer attorneys at The O’Keefe Firm have years of experience handling complex medical malpractice lawsuits. We can review the circumstances surrounding the medical treatment with our experts to determine if you and your family may be entitled to compensation. If you have a claim, we have the resources to fight for your recovery and protect your interests.

There are no fees or expenses unless we obtain a recovery. Every claim for medical malpractice has a time limit within which the lawsuit must be filed, known as the Statute of Limitations. Time may be running out on your claim, so you should have any potential breast cancer lawsuit claim reviewed as soon as possible to make sure your family is protected. Call the attorneys at The O’Keefe Firm for an evaluation at no cost to you.