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Mammogram Error Attorney

misread-mammogram-lawsuitHave you suffered injuries from a misread mammogram? Call at (888) 424-5757. The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help.

Discuss your compensation claim with an attorney who will protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.

Doctors use mammograms as a preliminary test for screening breast cancer and women. Typically, medical professionals and radiologists administering the mammogram follow established procedures to read the test results accurately.

While the diagnostic process is not 100% accurate, early detection of breast cancer's common warning signs could save the woman's life. However, mistakes occur, and any inaccurate reading could delay a diagnosis, leading to significant problems when early detection of cancer is missed.

Breast Cancer

Doctors diagnose abnormal breast tissue cells as cancer in women and men, though it is far more prevalent in women. In recent years, cancer survival rates have risen significantly, lowering cancer-related deaths due to early detection and better treatment now that medical science better understands the development and progression of the disease.

Early breast cancer development occurs when a few cells start reproducing abnormally, dividing significantly faster than the surrounding healthy tissues. The abnormal cells accumulate, forming a cancerous mass or lump.

In time, the cancerous cells may metastasize (spread) to other surrounding tissue, into the lymph nodes, and out to other body parts, including bones, lungs, brain, and other organs and tissue.

Invasive ductile carcinoma is the most common form of breast cancer when abnormal cells develop in the milk-producing ducts. Invasive lobular carcinoma may also develop in lobules (glandular tissue) or other areas.

Numerous contributing factors are thought to increase cancer risk, including exposure to environmental hazards, lifestyle choices, and hormonal changes. Scientists believe that a complex interaction with the individual's genetic makeup and exposure to environmental conditions causes the disease.

Inherited Breast Cancer

According to the National Institute of Health, up to ten percent of all breast cancers are caused by a genetic mutation passed down from ancestors. In recent years, DNA research identified numerous inherited mutated genes, including BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2, that may increase cancer's potential development.

Doctors and diagnosticians will review the patient's family and personal history to identify any potential problems, including passed down inherited mutated genes. Typically, the markers are identified by a blood test that detects genetic mutations, including BRCA.

The doctor may also identify potential problems by reviewing the family health history. The counselors trained to discuss genetic testing and its limitations, risk factors, and benefits to help patients make the best decision in managing their health care.

However, most individuals diagnosed with the cancers showed no inherited genetic mutations of the disease passed down to the family.

Risk Factors

Individuals with inherited genetic mutations are not always more likely to develop cancer than others. In many cases, women develop the disease without any risk factors listed below other than their gender.

Common contributing factors related to the increased potential of developing breast cancer include:

Gender – Statistically, women have a higher chance of developing cancer than men

Age – The older an individual becomes, the higher the risk of developing the disease

Personal Medical History – Any man or woman who developed breast cancer in the past has an increased risk of developing the disease in the future

Family Medical History – A grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, or other females in the family diagnosed with the disease increases the patient's risk of development

Inherited Genetic Mutations – Scientists have identified genetic mutations through DNA testing known to increase the potential risk of developing cancer passed on through the family, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, that may be identified through a blood test

Exposure to Radiation – Past radiation treatments to the patient's chest during young adulthood or childhood may significantly increase the potential risk of developing cancer in the future

Obesity – Morbidly obese patients have an increased risk of developing cancer

Early Menstruation and Menopause Outside the Range – Girls who mature earlier than usual experiencing a period before the age of 12, and women starting menopause older than usual have an increased risk of developing cancer

Excessive Alcohol Consumption – Scientists have found a correlation between the increased risks of developing cancer and drinking alcohol

Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy (PHT) – Doctors manage their female patients' hormone levels by combining progesterone and estrogen treatments. However, this combination was shown to increase the potential risk of developing cancer that could decrease if the medication is stopped

Signs and Symptoms

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2021, doctors and radiologists will diagnose breast cancer in over 325,000 women and more than 2000 men. That same year, the disease is expected to claim over 42,500 lives.

Many of these deaths could have been prevented through early detection.

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with the development and progression of cancer involve:

  • A lump or thickened tissue in the breast that is not like the surrounding tissue
  • Changes in the breast's appearance, and shape, or size
  • A newly developed inverted areola (nipple)
  • Breast skin that is newly pitted or reddened
  • An areola (nipple) and surrounding tissue that flakes, peels, or feels crusty or scaly

Mammograms and Self Examination

Successfully avoiding breast cancer requires early detection through self-examination and proper testing performed by medical professionals. A doctor can recommend a battery of tests, including mammograms, biopsies, and blood testing, to identify risks and detect early-stage cancer.

Unfortunately, doctors often fail to order necessary tests or misread the test results that were ordered. A radiologist could misread an x-ray, or a pathologist could miss crucial data in a biopsy slide, leading to a failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis, allowing undetected cancer to progress.

The doctor should recommend a regular breast examination with every physical exam to identify any changes in the breast's size or shape or detected lump. Any patient complaints of breast pain or discharge/bleeding from the nipple may indicate cancer.

Current medical guidelines involving women undergoing a mammogram screening to detect breast cancer various on current risks that include:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Reproductive history
  • Current hormonal therapy
  • Birth control use
  • Other medication use

Typically, doctors recommend that women in their early 40s be given a choice to have an annual mammogram. Women in their late 40s and early 50s should have a yearly mammogram.

Females over fifty-four years of age should undergo mammogram testing yearly or every other year. Mammogram testing should continue in later years as long as the patient remains in good health with a continuing life expectancy of ten or more years.

These recommendations involve performing screening mammogram tests for early detection when the patient currently displays no symptoms or signs of the disease.

Late-Stage Breast Cancer

A delayed diagnosis of breast cancer allowed to progress to a late stage increases the potential risks of the patient's death significantly. With early detection, a patient with cancer has a nearly 100% five-year survival rate.

However, progressive breast cancers advancing to Stage IV drops the patient's survival rate by nearly half. Fortunately, medical science has found numerous testing methods for early detection, including mammogram early screenings, blood tests, and biopsies.

These testing methods can detect nearly 45% of patients with breast cancer diagnosed at Stage I, compared to 5% of people with cancer diagnosed at the most advanced Stage IV. These statistics reveal the correlation of early detection and subsequent treatment with better cancer survival rates.

Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992

In October 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA), requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and enforce mammography standards. The law requires strict accreditation where the equipment and personnel at mammography facilities receive certification and inspection.

The developed standards were based on combining clinical breast exams with mammography screening tests to detect early-stage cancer. The federal government regulates patient mammography screening based on the standards to help reduce the numbers of breast cancers causing catastrophic health problems and death to more than 40,000 women and 2000 men each year.

Over the years, Congress has introduced companion legislation to offer research grant money to determine the best quality standards to regulate mammography facilities.

Medical Malpractice

Many cancer deaths could have been avoided had the medical team accurately diagnosed the condition during its early stage. Medical malpractice cases involving cancers are often based on a delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose and treat the condition timely.

Some women develop 'interval breast cancers' that developed between routine mammogram screening tests. Often, the radiologist or doctor misdiagnosed a mammogram film and failed to detect cancerous tissue on the film.

Most medical negligence cases involving misread mammograms result in medical malpractice cases when the medical professional misdiagnosed, delayed diagnosis, or failed to diagnose any problem.

Common examples of potential medical malpractice lawsuits include:

  • The doctor failing to follow established guidelines during cancer screenings
  • The radiologist misreading a patient's mammogram test
  • The Physician failing to diagnose or treat an existing lump
  • The doctor failing to recognize common symptoms associated with cancer

Any mistake in a breast cancer diagnosis could cause the disease to proliferate, leading to severe injury or wrongful death. A typical breast cancer medical malpractice case involves radiologists misreading mammograms.

Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers represent victims and surviving family members seeking financial compensation for a medical mistake or misdiagnosis. Our legal team will hold the doctor and radiologist financially accountable for their failure to diagnose the condition accurately or provide the patient with the best treatment.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Many breast cancer patients file civil lawsuits against their doctor, radiologist, hospital, or medical team due to their failure to diagnose a condition accurately.

Our medical malpractice attorneys will build a case for compensation based on one or more failures by the medical team that did not:

  • Take a comprehensive personal and family medical history to identify any link to cancer development
  • Order a diagnostic mammogram
  • Discuss the mammogram results with the patient
  • Recommend, perform, order, or interpret a breast tissue ultrasound
  • Perform a tissue biopsy and analyze the test results
  • Discuss the biopsy test results with the patient
  • Properly assess a lump
  • Open lines of communication with the patient's medical team that may involve specialists and others to ensure the patient's needs are met
  • Conduct ongoing breast tissue monitoring to identify any abnormality in an early stage

Many medical malpractice cases are based on the doctor's inability to detect a lump or abnormal tissue, order necessary tests, or correctly interpret a test result.

Most diagnosed cancers involving abnormal tissue were visible in the mammogram but went unnoticed by the radiologists or doctor due to human error. National Institutes of Health statistics show that up to 45% of missed cancers resulted from doctors' errors mistaking a false-negative when the disease was present.

Many times, the radiologist is not sufficiently skilled at diagnosing the disease or misread the test results due to distraction, fatigue, or the image's anatomical "noise." In some cases, the radiologist's perceptual mistakes, lack of knowledge, or minimal experience allowed the existing cancer tissue to go unnoticed.

Misread Mammogram Medical Malpractice FAQs

Our medical malpractice attorneys understand you may have additional questions about your doctor, radiologist, treatment, or the care they did or did not provide after you were diagnosed. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for any additional questions you have that are not answered here.

What Happens if You Have an Abnormal Mammogram?

Nearly all mammograms reveal no presence of breast cancer. However, an abnormal mammogram will detect a lump, abnormal tissue, or another cancer indicator.

Your doctor will likely require follow-up testing to confirm the mammogram analysis or rule out the presence of cancer. Most women who have had an abnormal mammogram will show no abnormal breast tissue in the follow-up test results.

What Percentage of Suspicious Mammograms are Cancer?

According to statistics, about one in ten women receiving routine mammograms are called back for additional testing. In total, breast cancer is detected in approximately 0.5% of 'callback' mammogram results.

Statistically, a woman's chance of receiving a positive cancer diagnosis from a "callback" follow-up mammogram is small. However, the test is vital to rule out the presence of any cancer.

What Should I do if My Mammogram is Abnormal?

Receiving abnormal mammogram test results is likely not devastating news. The abnormal finding may have revealed a benign breast condition, cyst, dense tissue, a benign lump, or non-cancerous tumor.

In many cases, the radiologist is reading a distortion that is likely not providing accurate results. However, it is essential to have a follow-up appointment with the doctor to discuss what to do.

Likely, the doctor will recommend a breast ultrasound or diagnostic mammogram to rule out serious problems. In rare cases, the doctor may recommend a biopsy or breast MRI (magnetic resonance image).

What can Breast Cancer be Mistaken for?

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of breast cancer is a common occurrence by doctors and radiologists. Cancer misdiagnosis may instead be a benign mass, lipoma, fibroid or glandular tissue (fibroadenomas), breast cellulitis, fibrocystic tissue, or abscess formation.

Can Doctors Wrongly Diagnose Cancer?

There have indeed been significant advances in medical technology over the last few decades, resulting in a more accurate diagnosis of patients' conditions.

However, the Johns Hopkins Hospital revealed that up to 20% of all cases involve wrongly classified cancers. This alarming number results from doctors misdiagnosing a patient's condition while looking under a microscope at slides of biopsies and tissue samples.

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Law Firm to Resolve your Misread Mammogram Injury Case

Has medical malpractice harmed you? Are you, or a loved one, the victim of advancing disease caused by a cancer misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or a misread mammogram?

Contact our Chicago, IL medical malpractice lawyers at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Our malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can provide advice and counsel to file and resolve a personal injury claim for maximum compensation.

Our malpractice lawyers accept personal injury cases using signed contingency fee agreements. The arrangement ensures you only pay for our services if we obtain compensation on your behalf.

Did your family lose a loved one through a preventable death caused by another's medical negligence? You can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages, including medical bills, lost earnings, funeral and burial costs, pain, and suffering.

All information you and your loved ones share with our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our Chicago, IL, law office currently follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing to ensure everyone's well-being.

Our practice areas include workplace injuries, car crashes, premises liability, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, product liability, and wrongful death. Our attorneys currently represent injured clients throughout Illinois in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Madison County, Peoria County, Sangamon County, Will County, Winnebago County, Aurora, Arlington Heights, Chicago, Joliet, and Schaumburg, and Waukegan.


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