Everybody knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, it may surprise you to find out that breast cancer is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed forms of cancer, according to a survey from the National Coalition on Health Care. These findings don’t indicate that people with breast cancer go un-diagnosed, but in fact show that the opposite is true.
Invasive breast cancer tumors are correctly diagnosed via biopsy roughly 90% of the time. These are the kinds of tumors that kill people. So, the good news is that the actual malignant forms of the cancer is being found almost every time. The problem of misdiagnosis lies in false positives obtained from a biopsy. When a pathologist examines a sample of breast tissue to determine the existence and nature of the cancer in question, it is common for one thing to look like something completely different. A patient may very likely have a harmless form of cancer that is misread and mistreated as being extremely deadly. This survey finds that it happens often, in fact the only other form of cancer that is misdiagnosed more often than breast cancer is lymphoma.
The danger that a misdiagnosis of this nature presents is clear. Imagine if you or a loved one were to go through the torture of chemotherapy or mastectomies, only to find out that that there was no need for that torture to begin with.
We urge all women to go through the proper channels of receiving a mammogram this October, but we also must insist that you get a second or even third opinion. Even to an experienced pathologist, harmless cancer can still look like it’s deadly cousin upon inspection. Make sure the diagnosis you receive is the correct diagnosis.
If you or a loved one have been harmed as s result of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, please contact us at Parvey and Frankel today. And as always, Don’t Go It Alone.[ssba]