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A delay in breast cancer diagnosis is one of the most prevalent and expensive concerns resulting in breast cancer malpractice litigation. It is the most common reason for alleged negligence, cited in 79% of cases. A palpable lump was the most frequent presenting symptom at the time of eventual diagnosis.

Lee M, Konstantinoff K, Gegios A. Breast Cancer Malpractice Litigation: A 10-year Analysis and Update in Trends. Clinical Imaging. 2019; 26-32.

How Do Doctors Misdiagnose Breast Cancer in a Woman Who Finds a Breast Lump?

A doctor can misdiagnosis breast cancer when they fail to evaluate a palpable breast lump, thereby causing a delay in diagnosis and treatment. The doctor can be an obstetrician or gynecologist, a family practitioner, an internist, a general surgeon, or a radiologist.

For women who are 30 years old and younger or who are pregnant or lactating and who notices a new breast lump, the recommendation is that they have an ultrasound initially. If there are suspicious findings on the ultrasound, a biopsy should be done and/or diagnostic mammography (DM) (see image) or digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) (known as 3-D mammography). If the findings are probably benign, there should be ultrasound or DM/DBT short term follow-up. If findings are negative, there should still be a clinical follow-up. For pregnant or lactating women, DM/DBT should be considered even after a negative ultrasound.

For women who are older than 30 who discover a new breast lump, DM or DBT should be done initially. If clearly benign on DM, clinical follow-up is appropriate. If DM is negative or imaging is not clearly benign or is suspicious, targeted ultrasound should be directed to the palpable area.



If you have experienced a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis in Wicomico, Worcester, Talbot, and Queen Anne’s County, MD, don’t hesitate to Contact Us

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