A Guide to New Jersey Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis

Blog,Medical Malpractice • June 24, 2020

The American Cancer Society claims that one in eight women is expected to develop breast cancer. With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. It was estimated in 2018 that 266,120 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 50,000 women will die due to the disease. Sadly, breast cancer misdiagnosis is very common in the country. The team of New Jersey breast cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC can help clients file medical malpractice claims when physicians and other health care professionals misdiagnose breast cancer. 

How Often is Breast Cancer Misdiagnosed?

One study found that abnormal, precancerous breast cells were only diagnosed correctly in around one-half of the cases included in the study. Nearly one-third of the cases were misdiagnosed as normal or not worrisome. Also, many of the cases were diagnosed as suspicious even though the breast tissue was normal. 

Due to a misdiagnosis, women can receive invasive or potential hazardous treatments when there is no sign of indication of breast cancer. In cases where cancer is present but is not properly diagnosed, women may not undergo necessary treatment until their breast cancer has become life-threatening or requires the removal of the breasts entirely. Because of this, many health care professionals advise that women who have concerns should get a second opinion from another medical professional. 

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer happens when abnormal cells or damaged cells continue to divide instead of dying. The abnormal of cancerous cells proceed to divide, effectively crowding out healthy cells. When cells in the breast become cancerous, cancer can metastasize — or spread — to other sectors of the body or the lymph nodes near the breasts. When a physician is able to diagnose breast cancer early, the survival rate is increased with treatment. 

When breast cancer is misdiagnosed, the chance of survival for the patient decreased because treatment is unable to start until the cancer has already spread of has caused more serious symptoms. For women, monthly self-examinations are crucial to help detect symptoms of breast cancer early on. Also, annual mammograms and examinations by a health care provider can help detect cancer cases much earlier. 

Some potential signs of breast cancer include the following:

  • Nipple retraction (the nipple turns inward).
  • A lump or lumps in the breast.
  • Nipple or breast pain.
  • Swelling of the breast or area of the breast.
  • Thickening, scaliness, or redness of the skin on the breasts of the nipple.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Dimpling or skin irritation.

Women experiencing any of these signs or other unexplained symptoms should obtain medical attention as soon as possible. 

How Does Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Happen?

In the majority of cases, a breast cancer misdiagnosis will happen when a health care provider acts negligently. For many women, the negligence causes a negative outcome due to a delay resulting from the negligence that makes the cancer harder to treat effectively. Some instances of malpractice related to breast cancer misdiagnosis include the following: 

  • Misreading the results of an x-ray, MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, or mammogram.
  • Failing to screen for breast cancer.
  • Improper treatment for breast cancer.
  • Neglecting to follow up with a patient concerning a positive test result or a suspicious test result.
  • Failing to discover cancerous cells during a mammogram or other diagnostic tests.
  • Waiting too long to conduct a biopsy after the discovery of a lump or other symptoms that are present.
  • Misdiagnosing breast cancer as a benign breast cyst, blocked milk duct, or fibroadenoma.

If you think you have been misdiagnosed by your physician, it is important that you get a second opinion from a qualified medical professional, preferably a breast cancer specialist. Contact a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney at Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC today in order to discuss your legal options for pursuing a medical malpractice claim after a breast cancer misdiagnosis. 

Medical Misdiagnosis in New Jersey

Medical malpractice would never happen in a perfect world, and health care providers would always provide us with the medical treatments necessary. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Statistics show that medical malpractice is the cause of nearly 120,000 fatalities each year. While this may be surprising, shockingly, fewer than 3% of malpractice victims ever pursue compensation for their injuries or other damages. That means many deserving victims never end up filing a medical malpractice claim. 

The legal team at Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC believes that all victims of medical malpractice deserve to recover the compensation needed to cover their losses and damages resulting from an instance of medical malpractice. Medical negligence or medical errors can potentially lead to injuries and even completely devastate a patient, worsening their condition. Sometimes, malpractice can require that patients undergo further medical treatment.

Patients are at risk of experiencing catastrophic injuries when a doctor or medical facility makes a mistake during any stage of the treatment process. In these cases, injured parties can potentially pursue a personal injury claim with the help of a qualified attorney. Medical malpractice claims allow victims to hold doctors, hospitals, and health care professionals accountable for their mistakes and possibly obtain compensation for their damages. If you were misdiagnosed or a physician failed to diagnose your condition, it can potentially be a fatal error. Consulting with legal council will provide you with the information you need to decide your next steps in order to receive proper compensation for your pain and suffering.