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Can breast cancer be misdiagnosed by a medical professional?

Breast cancer is an all too common issue that women of every age in Georgia deal with. Regardless of family history, all women should undergo screening for breast cancer at some point in their lives. According to the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition, breast cancer affects more women than any other type of cancer with 1 million who have yet to be diagnosed and 2.3 million who have been. While a diagnosis can be devastating and life-changing, are there times when a medical professional may misdiagnose the condition? The simple answer is yes.

A misdiagnosis can work both ways. First, a doctor may say the cancer is present when it is not, or they may completely miss the cancer altogether. Both can create life-threatening situations that lead to catastrophic injuries. There are times when breast cysts, blocked milk ducts, and fibroadenomas appear like cancer, but a thorough medical evaluation is imperative to determine what the actual condition is.

You can protect yourself from a misdiagnosis of any condition by doing the following things:

  •          Know your history: always be aware of your family's cancer history and remind your doctor about it.
  •          Ask questions: do not be afraid to question your doctor if you feel something is not right.
  •          Do not give technology all the credit: low-tech tests and a family history may be more precise in diagnosing a condition than innovative technological testing.
  •          Reserve your trust: some medical tests are simply wrong, so do not be afraid to review the results again.
  •          Get a second opinion: if you feel your doctor is off in the diagnosis and you want to be sure before starting treatment, always seek a second opinion from another professional.

An accurate diagnosis is essential to surviving breast cancer and all patients can ask more questions when it comes to their health. There may be times when a simple question can help save your life.

The information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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