An image of a woman who is fighting breast cancer and a pink ribbon in the background.

Did you know breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the United States? On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes in this country. 30% of all female cancer diagnoses this year are projected to be breast cancer. We’ll give you a minute to take that in. The numbers are staggering, aren’t they?

It’s October! Welcome to breast cancer awareness month. That’s thirty-one days of increasing attention and support for awareness. Thirty-one days of campaigning for breast cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Thirty-one days of sharing real statistics to highlight the dangers of breast cancer and how to prevent them.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve got some helpful information to share! 

Staying One Step Ahead 

We understand there are certain risk factors that cannot be changed when it comes to breast cancer. However, there are measures you can take to reduce your overall risk:

Get screened. Beyond any lifestyle change, getting screened remains at the core of breast cancer prevention and treatment. Annual mammograms and clinical breast exams every three years ensure early detection. This helps control and treat breast cancer easier.

Self-examine. Checking for lumps yourself helps catch anything abnormal in between screenings and doctor visits. 

Maintain a healthy weight. Research suggests that women with a BMI index of 30 or over have a higher chance of developing breast cancer. And a higher chance of breast cancer recurrence. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight helps reduce some of the risk.

Reduce hormone therapy. Women who take hormones during menopause have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Breastfeed, if you can. A recent study showed that for every 12 months of breastfeeding, the relative risk for breast cancer decreased by 4.3%

Limiting alcohol intake. Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the higher her chances of developing breast cancer become.

A young mother battling breast cancer lovingly embraces her daughter.

Can Breast Cancer Be Misdiagnosed?

Yes. Just ask Elizabeth Vines.

In March 2014, Elizabeth casually brought up a small, pea-sized lump near her underarms to her family doctor. He brushed it off, sent her home, and she ignored it until September. When it started to grow rapidly. She scheduled another appointment with her doctor who again reassured her the lump was not cancer. Perhaps a cyst. But definitely not cancer. Even after an ultrasound, Mrs. Vines was told that what was in her breast was just cystic components. He referred her to a breast surgeon for removal of the cyst. That’s where she had a mammogram done and the bad news broke: Elizabeth had a 12-centimeter cancerous tumor in her breast.

Her hometown oncology department couldn’t see her right away. Elizabeth began seeking treatment in Arizona instead. After 12 rounds of chemo, she was finally cancer-free.

How Is Breast Cancer Misdiagnosed?

It’s 2020; medical negligence still occurs. Medical malpractice cases arise every day. When it comes to misdiagnosing breast cancer, the outcomes are almost always detrimental as cancer cells are harder to treat the longer they persist. Here are ways breast cancer is misdiagnosed:

Failure to screen for breast cancer. Physicians might fail to recognize the early signs and symptoms. Or they may completely brush off your concerns and not do any further testing.

Misinterpreting test results. Failing to identify the cancer accurately could have big consequences.

Not following up. A delay in informing the patient (or not informing altogether) can easily be the difference between stage 1 and stage 3 cancer.

Two breast cancer survivors hold each other's hands and support one another.

Victims Have Rights Too

Breast cancer can be misdiagnosed in life-altering, or even life-threatening ways. Doctors might brush off your concerns or convince you that the lump you noticed last week is nothing concerning. Improper follow-up procedures can lead to faster-growing, later stage cancers. If you or a loved one have become victim to breast cancer misdiagnosis, you might want to consider a lawsuit.

We know what you’re thinking. Can I sue my doctor for misdiagnosis?

The answer is yes. Talking to a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer can help answer many questions you may have. And at the very least, let you know if you have a valid case. Dealing with misdiagnosis isn’t easy. And it definitely isn’t fair. Reaching out is the very first step in getting yourself justice. 

If you believe medical negligence occurred during your diagnosis of breast cancer, please feel free to contact us here. We’re here to help!