5 Medical Mistakes in a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

As one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in women, breast cancer accounts for 12.5% of all new cancer cases throughout the world. The key to effectively managing breast cancer is a timely diagnosis. However, breast cancer may be misdiagnosed, treatments may be delayed from miscommunication, or countless other situations may occur to impede your or a loved one’s recovery. During breast cancer awareness month, the attorneys at Zevan Davidson Roman are here to support you during a breast cancer misdiagnosis and help you fight for your rightful compensation.

Breast Cancer Explained

Breast cancer is a cancer that begins in breast tissue. There are multiple types of breast cancer, noted by the type of cells where the cancer is located. For example, invasive ductal carcinoma is a breast cancer that begins in the ducts and then grows to other areas of the breast tissue while inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive form where cancer cells block lymph vessels in the breast.

While breast cancer symptoms differ from person to person, some common warning signs are:

  • New lump in the breast or armpit;
  • Thickening or swelling of a part of the breast;
  • Irritation of the breast skin;
  • Redness or flaky skin around the nipple or breast;
  • Pulling in of the nipple;
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood;
  • Abnormal change in breast size; or
  • Persistent pain in any area of the breast.

Breast Cancer Early Detection

Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. While you cannot prevent breast cancer all together, there are certain routines you can follow to reduce your risk for an advanced stage of breast cancer. It includes getting routine mammograms every year after age 40, doing breast self examinations after age 20 and having your breasts examined by your health provider at your standard OB/GYN visits.

Unfortunately, there may be times where a breast cancer misdiagnosis may occur due to the negligence of your doctor, specialist, lab technician or radiologist.

Experiencing a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

While any human may make mistakes, a health misdiagnosis, failure to treat or delay in treatment is a devastating experience. Depending on the stage that breast cancer is discovered, a person may survive for years with a quick response from early detection. However, in some breast cancer misdiagnosis cases, a doctor’s failure to follow proper procedures increase one’s risk for a different outcome.

The top scenarios of a breast cancer misdiagnosis are a result of one of these five common medical failures.

Misreading an Ultrasound or Mammogram 

As a part of the standard of women’s healthcare, a woman should receive a mammogram once every year after age 40. This periodic screening aids in both early detection and determining the location of any abnormalities. A radiologist along with your doctor will review an initial mammogram, and if an abnormality is spotted, they should order a supplemental mammogram or ultrasound to further define. Oftentimes, breast cancer misdiagnosis cases will occur from a doctor, radiologist or technician improperly reading either the initial mammogram or ultrasound.

Failing to Order an Ultrasound or Biopsy

If a suspicious finding is detected on a mammogram, a second ultrasound or mammogram must be performed to rule out if there is breast cancer present. Biopsies are crucial in order to determine if a mass is cancerous or benign. If your doctor or the lab who received your test results misreads the biopsy or fails to order it at all, they may be liable for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Failing to do a Routine Breast Examination

As a part of the standard of care during annual well-woman OB/GYN doctor visits, your doctor should administer a breast examination in addition to their examination of your abdomen, pelvic area and reproductive organs. During a breast exam, your doctor or another medical provider will manually press down on and around your breasts with their fingertips to see if there are any lumps or abnormalities.

If your doctor fails to conduct a routine breast exam and you receive a severe cancer diagnosis later on, they may be negligent in failing to order a mammogram or ultrasound to rule out breast cancer.

Delayed Diagnosis

A delayed breast cancer diagnosis is not only surprising, but it also may change the stage of your cancer. Like all cancer diagnoses, breast cancer has 4 stages with stage 1 being highly treatable to stage 4 being the most aggressive form of cancer.

For example, if your doctor accurately diagnosed your breast cancer in a recent doctor visit, the cancer may have been caught at stage 1, which is highly treatable with surgery or moderate chemotherapy. However, if they failed to recognize it in a past mammogram screening and it progressed to a more aggressive stage 3 or 4 breast cancer, your doctor may be at fault for failing to diagnose when it was present in the initial screening.

Administering Unnecessary Treatment

In severe cases of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, your doctor may order a procedure that was not necessary due to their or their medical team’s improper diagnosis of breast cancer. The procedures may include: unnecessary surgery such as mastectomy or lumpectomy, radiation or chemotherapy treatments, or a need for rehabilitation or reconstructive surgery.

Your Medical Misdiagnosis Attorneys 

Receiving the news that you have breast cancer is shocking, especially if you followed the proper precautionary measures of annual mammograms. If you believe your doctor misdiagnosed your breast cancer, the attorneys at Zevan Davidson Roman are here to walk you through the lawsuit process. From collecting evidence to gathering expert testimony to preparing your case for trial, our team of medical malpractice attorneys will help you get the justice you and your family deserve after a breast cancer misdiagnosis. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.


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