Breast cancer is most common among women, but it can affect men as well. Just as is the case with women, when men get breast cancer, it begins when breast tissue begins to grow out of control. The cancer cells most often develop into a tumor that can be felt as a lump or seen on X-rays. Male breast cancer more often goes unnoticed or undiagnosed and can give rise to medical malpractice claims in West Virginia.
Most cases of breast cancer start in the ducts that bring milk to the nipple. These are referred to as ductal cancers. Breast cancers can, however, begin in different parts of the breast. They can start in the glands that create breast milk, called lobular cancers. Men have these ducts and glands, but they are usually not functional. Other types of breast cancer begin in other breast cells; these are less common.
Breast cancer spreads when it gets into the lymphatic or blood system and is carried to other parts of the person’s body. The lymph system is a body-wide network of vessels and nodes. Cancer can grow in lymph nodes after being transported by lymph vessels. Once cancer is discovered in a person’s lymph nodes, there is a much higher chance that it will have metastasized to other parts of the body. Treatment becomes more dangerous and difficult at that point.
In cases where men develop breast cancer that goes undiagnosed due to medical error, an attorney might be able to help the person pursue damages for medical malpractice. Malpractice cases are particularly difficult for the plaintiff because there is often a lack of knowledge on that side. The medical professionals likely know what happened, but it is not in their best interest to share it. An attorney who handles medical malpractice cases might be able to get information the client couldn’t get on their own, sometimes leading to settlement or a civil suit.