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When Doctors Fail to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and all women over 50 are at risk for the dangerous and deadly disease. All in all, 12 percent of women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Breast cancer becomes more deadly as it progresses, making an early, accurate and prompt diagnosis vital in surviving the disease. If breast cancer is not diagnosed early, the cancer often spreads to other parts of the body, making it much harder to control or cure. Unfortunately, the most common misdiagnosis error involves breast cancer.

If a doctor fails to diagnose breast cancer, the patient could have a foundation for a medical malpractice suit against their physician. If the doctor is given the fair opportunity to diagnose your breast cancer but does not do so, he or she could be negligent if the cancer caused an injury and the injury was the direct result of a failure to diagnose the cancer.

A failure to diagnose breast cancer may occur if:
  • A patient is younger than 50 years old and the doctor believed the patient is too young to have breast cancer. In these cases, women are often misdiagnosed as having fibrocystic disease.
  • A patient is male. Men can have breast cancer too, though many doctors may ignore or overlook the symptoms.
  • A biopsy test is done incorrectly and produces inaccurate results. Either the test could be conducted wrong, or the cancerous lesion could be missed entirely during the extraction of cells.
  • A doctor does an inadequate screen for the disease. This could occur if the doctor does not follow up with the proper diagnostic tests after complaints of breast cancer symptoms (lumps, pain, nipple discharge, reddened breast).
  • A doctor fails to tell the patient the biopsy results.


If you believe your doctor misdiagnosed your condition, learn more about breast cancer and medical malpractice.