Reconsidering how to use breast cancer biopsies

For some women, a breast cancer diagnosis is a great fear. When something looks suspicions a biopsy might be ordered. In the United States each year, approximately 1.6 million women have biopsies for breast cancer. Being told after a biopsy that they in fact do not have breast cancer is a great relief, that is until they are later diagnosed with a much more serious case. Unfortunately this happens all too frequently. A study lead by a professor of University of Washington School of Medicine recently looked into the matter.

The results of the study may be surprising for some. A total of 100 pathologists participated in the study. Those individuals diagnosed breast cancer biopsies which were then looked at by three other doctors considered to be “top-notch.” The second look at the biopsies often came to a different conclusion. In some cases women were told they did not have breast cancer when in fact they did. Alternatively breast cancer was diagnosed in some women when they actually did not have it.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that in up to 75 percent of the time, breast cancer biopsies are misinterpreted. This can lead to a woman not receiving the medical care necessary to fight the disease, or in the alternative, treatment that is not needed. Neither outcome is desirable and the study contributes to the stance that biopsies should not be the standard way to diagnose breast cancer.

A misdiagnosis of a medical condition that leads to injury could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed. Lawyers can be of assistance in such cases.