Finding out you have breast cancer can shake you to your core. However, an even more terrifying situation you can experience is to get a delayed diagnosis from a West Virginia health care professional. It can make the difference between life and death.
How breast cancer is normally diagnosed
Women 40 and over should begin to get annual screenings for breast cancer. There are different methods that are the best options for early detection that could help save lives. Women should stay in contact with their doctors about regular breast exams and learn how to perform self-exams at home. If a lump or other abnormality is found, quick action is crucial.
Screening methods for breast cancer start with regular annual mammograms. Women with dense breast tissue may require additional steps because dense breasts make it difficult to spot a lump from a mammogram. A breast ultrasound or MRI might be necessary for some situations as they can pick up on anything from benign cysts to abnormal lumps.
If breast cancer is suspected, the next step is a biopsy. Tissue from the lump is taken for further examination to determine whether it’s cancerous. There are different methods for biopsies based on the position and state of a breast lump.
Understanding delayed diagnosis of breast cancer
When caught in the earliest stages, many breast cancers are highly treatable and have a good success rate of remission. However, when a woman is misdiagnosed or a doctor delays the diagnosis, it can have devastating effects. In some cases, a doctor might miss certain signs and symptoms or fail to perform the diagnostic tests necessary to determine whether a patient has breast cancer. If the doctor misinterprets a radiology scan or fails to follow up with the patient, it can result in a delayed diagnosis and equate to medical negligence. Many medical malpractice claims involving a delayed diagnosis end up being settled before reaching trial.