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Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis: Medical Malpractice
Breast cancer is a serious illness that affects thousands of people around the world. Like many types of cancer, patients have a better chance of survival if breast cancer is detected in its early stages. For this reason, an accurate medical diagnosis is critical.
A breast cancer misdiagnosis can prolong the time it takes to receive life-saving treatment, resulting in worse outcomes for the patient. False positives on a breast cancer exam can also result in inappropriately aggressive treatment for some patients. If your breast cancer was misdiagnosed, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the breast. It is the most common cancer diagnosis, with approximately 287,850 women and 2,710 men diagnosed with the condition every year.
Symptoms of breast cancer can vary, but may include:
- A lump that develops in the breast
- Changes to the skin covering the breast
- Changes in breast size, appearance, or shape
- Redness or an orange-peel like texture over the breast
- Peeling, scaling, or crusting skin
- A nipple that suddenly inverts
Breast Cancer Is Frequently Misdiagnosed
Doctors use several tests and procedures to diagnose breast cancer, including physical exams; special X-rays known as mammograms; and biopsies, a procedure that involves taking a sample of breast tissue to test for cancerous cells.
Despite these advancements in medicine, breast cancer is often misdiagnosed. In some cases, patients are told that they do not have cancer when they do, causing the condition to progress. In others, doctors mistakenly identify another condition as breast cancer and order unnecessarily invasive treatments that harm the patient.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit After Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
As a patient, you expect that your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and order the tests necessary to diagnose your condition. For many patients, however, medical professionals misdiagnose breast cancer as another condition and vice versa. Some doctors fail to provide a diagnosis at all.
In these situations, you may qualify for legal action. Breast cancer misdiagnosis is a type of medical malpractice. Doctors have a responsibility to uphold the medical standard of care. Essentially, this means that a doctor must act in the same way as a similarly trained and reasonable medical professional.
If a doctor misdiagnoses breast cancer and harms the patient, he or she commits an act of medical malpractice. Under these circumstances, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor. This legal claim allows you to recover financial compensation for the damages that you experienced as a result of the misdiagnosis, such as:
- The cost of additional medical care
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Disability accommodations, such as live-in care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
What to Do If Your Doctor Misdiagnoses Breast Cancer
If your doctor fails to provide an accurate diagnosis for breast cancer, it is important to seek treatment from a second medical provider. Save all of your medical records involving both medical professionals. Continue to receive the appropriate treatment for your condition.
Then, you should speak to a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney can represent your claim against the doctor and secure the settlement that you deserve. Schedule a consultation as soon as possible after the misdiagnosis to learn about your legal options.