Breast cancer is a noteworthy cause of death among women and also one of the more common forms of cancer. Early detection plays a key role in connecting those with breast cancer with treatments. Although anyone can develop breast cancer, women over the age of 30 are at the highest level of risk. Preventative care and routine doctor visits can help women safeguard their health.
Women should absolutely see medical professionals for annual screenings, including breast cancer screening and cervical cancer screening through a gynecologist. General practitioners can typically handle most forms of breast cancer screening. However, they may also rely too heavily on certain diagnostic techniques that may leave their patients vulnerable.
Although mammograms are certainly an important piece of technology that helps doctors find breast cancer in many cases, it is far from a perfect tool. Mammograms can and do fail to spot cancer in certain cases, meaning that doctors should have other ways of detecting potentially concerning lumps or tissue. Failing to understand the limitations of mammograms endangers patients unnecessarily.
Mammograms don't work well on dense or fibrous breast tissue
Mammograms work best on the breast tissue of older women, where they excel at locating lumps, masses and calcifications. For a long time, many insurance companies would not even cover mammograms performed in younger women because of the limitation of this imaging technology. Mammograms may not provide accurate results when women have dense or fibrous breast tissue.
Although dense breast tissue is usually a sign of youth, it is also common in some women throughout their lives, as breasts vary greatly. If a doctor doesn't understand the limitations of a mammogram for certain kinds of breasts, they may not realize that the test will potentially fail to notice something important.
There are additional screening and testing options that can reduce the risk of breast cancer going undetected. However, your doctor has to order those tests and work with the insurance company to secure approval for them. Barring that, it's possible for a doctor to overlook warning signs because they place too much trust in a mammogram.
Doctors who don't do their diagnostic duty can be held accountable
You trust your physician to determine what is wrong with you and help you find a solution. If your doctor can't or won't take the proper steps to diagnose you early on, that failure could have lasting repercussions for you in the years to come.
Failure to diagnose is one of the forms that medical malpractice often takes. If you believe that a failure on the part of your doctor complicated your health situation by delaying your cancer diagnosis, you may want to sit down with an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney.