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Breast cancer diagnosis not always accurate

Most women in Houston will be screened for breast cancer during their lifetime. It's part of a woman's annual checkup and helps to make sure breast cancer is caught early while treatment is still effective. But, a new report shows that many women receive the wrong diagnosis.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that over half of new breast cancer diagnosis are not accurate. Although breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, an inaccurate diagnosis can cause needless stress and anxiety, along with medical treatment that patients don't need. Although early detection of any cancer can lead to better outcomes, not all breast cancer diagnosis are the same. The biopsies and treatments that are performed on a person who has a suspicious lump may lead to more risk to the patient then not doing anything in the first place. The researchers found that mammograms detected dangerous tumors early in about 20 percent of patients who had a tumor. In the other 80 percent of women the mammograms detected a tumor that was not life-threatening. For patients this means that there are thousands of women who underwent treatment that was not necessary.

Houston residents deserve doctors who are thorough with the care they provide to their patients. An unexpected diagnosis can have devastating effects on a patient and their family. Unnecessary stress and treatments can cause a patient to need medical care. If a patient believes they have received a wrong diagnosis they may want to get more information about medical malpractice law. Doing so may help the patient and their family get the answers they deserve as to what happened. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: startribune.com, "More than half of newly diagnosed breast cancers are mistaken identity", Melissa Healy, Oct. 12, 2016

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