A Tragic Common Medical Error - Thinking A Female Patient's Lump Is Merely A Cyst Without Properly Ruling Out Cancer

 By: J. Hernandez
A woman might take it as very reassuring if her physician notifies her that she only has fibrocystic breast changes and that there is no need to be anxious about the lump in her breast. But this reassurance should only come after the physician has done appropriate diagnostic tests to rule out the chance of breast cancer. Else, the patient may not discover she has breast cancer until it is too late. If a physician concludes that a lump in a female patient's breast is only a benign cyst and it eventually actually is breast cancer, the woman might have a legal claim for medical malpractice against that doctor.

There are 2 statistical realities doctors know about. The majority of changes that show up in the breast are noncancerous. Females oyunger than fifty are much less likely to have breast cancer than women above that age. Because of these 2 statistics a number of doctors tend to discount a lump as simply a benign cyst in the event that it happens in a woman younger than 50. It is merely a matter of statistics. The likelihood is that a woman in that category does not have breast cancer.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. In the event breast cancer is detected before it can reach a late stage (for example, stage 0, stage I or stage II), the five-year survival rate is frequently above eighty percent. The five-year survival rate is a statistical measure that studies have demonstrated as projecting the fraction of patients who survive the disease for a minimum 5 years subsequent to detection. Hencel insurance company, a five-year survival rate higher than eighty percent means that, statistically, over eighty out of every one hundred patients with a less advanced stage breast cancer will, given proper treatment, survive the disease for at least 5 years following detection.

If the breast cancer is not detected until it reaches stage III (generally involving bigger cancerous masses in the breast or a spread of the cancer to lymph nodes), the five-year survival rate drops to around 54%. For stage IV (typically involving a tumor that is larger that five cm or the spread of the cancer to the bone or other organs, such as the lungs), the 5-year survival rate is in the region of 20%.

Roughly 12% of women will experience breast cancer in their life time. This year alone, approximately 190,000 females will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer. What percentage of these women might beat their breast cancer if their doctors had taken seriously reports of a mass in the breast or an abnormal finding on a clinical breast exam and had diagnosed the breast cancer earlier, before it spread or metastasized?

The challenge is that some physicians operate like either that they can establish whether a mass in a female's breast is cancerous or benign simply by manual examination or that a female younger than fifty with no family history of breast cancer is so unlikely to have breast cancer that there is no need to order any diagnostic tests to exclude the possibility of cancer if she had a mass in her breast. Since most doctors would concur that discovering a mass in a female's breast ought to be followed by diagnostic testing, such as an untrasound, mammogram, aspiration or biopsy. Only by using one or more of these tests can cancer be safely ruled out

In the event that a doctor concludes that a mass in a woman's breast as nothing more than a benign fibroid cyst based only on a clinical breast examination, that physician places the patient in danger of not learning she has breast cancer until it spreads to an advanced, perhaps incurable, stage. Not performing appropriate diagnostic testing, including an imaging study such as a mammogram or ultrasound, or a sampling, such as a biopsy or aspiration, might amount to a departure from the accepted standard of medical care and might result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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