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3 common causes of breast cancer misdiagnoses

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

The American Cancer Society states that breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women. A misdiagnosis of cancer as some other disease can result in the unchecked progression of the disease to the point where effective management is not possible.

On the other hand, a wrong diagnosis of breast cancer can also cause harm since it forces individuals to go through stress and treatments they do not need. Misdiagnoses can happen for several reasons.

1. Lack of comprehensive screening

One reason for breast cancer misdiagnoses is the absence of deep screening. In some cases, healthcare providers may rely solely on mammograms, neglecting other diagnostic tools such as ultrasounds or MRIs. A narrow focus increases the likelihood of overlooking cancer indicators and increases the chances of misdiagnosis. Mammograms can also give false positives. According to UC Davis Health, based on a 2022 study, half of all women will have a minimum of one false positive over ten years of annual mammograms.

2. Human error

Pathology, the branch of medicine responsible for diagnosing diseases through tissue examination, is prone to human error. Misinterpretation of biopsy results or the misidentification of cancerous cells can lead to inaccurate diagnoses.

3. Shared symptoms

Cists and fibrosis in the breast can look like cancer. So can mastitis and certain changes from pregnancy. Because of this, it is not uncommon to dismiss signs of breast cancer as being the result of one of these.

Breast cancer misdiagnoses can have serious, even lethal, repercussions. Patients grappling with the consequences of breast cancer misdiagnoses may explore legal avenues to seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, emotional distress and loss of income.