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Missing breast cancer diagnosis makes it far more dangerous

The real risk with a misdiagnosis of breast cancer isn't that you never find it. You do, eventually. It's just that all of that wasted time can make your situation far more dangerous and fragile. It increases the odds that your cancer will turn fatal.

With something like cancer -- of any type -- the key lies in early detection. Many types can get treated successfully if found early. The problem is that many also do not show symptoms until the cancer is fairly advanced. By the time people know anything is wrong, it's already serious. That's why testing for cancer to identify it early is so important.

Unfortunately, doctors do not always get it right. They miss things. They overlook details. They mix up reports or read those reports incorrectly. They miss cancer for many reasons and, by the time someone finally does catch it, the situation is much worse than it needed to be.

One woman's story

Let's take, for example, the story of a woman who had three mammograms in five years, all of which came back clean. She was, of course, thrilled to get those reports.

However, she did not stop doing self-exams at home. That turned out to be fortunate, as she discovered a lump. She brought it to the attention of the doctors and had a biopsy carried out. They found that, even though it had only been months since her last mammogram, she did have breast cancer.

Moreover, the type she had was called ductal adenocarcinoma, which can spread. It did so, moving into her lymph nodes. She entered treatment, but the disease then recurred. It moved from her breast to her ribs.

The woman was naturally concerned about this, especially since the cancer was already in stage three when she found it by herself. That means it did not occur after the mammogram. It must have been there at that time to become so advanced before she discovered it.

This raises a lot of important questions. Why did the doctors overlook it? What should they have seen in those tests? If they had not overlooked it, could they have caught it and treated it before it hit stage three? If so, would that have prevented it from spreading to her lymph nodes and her ribs?

Your rights after a doctor's mistake

Any cancer diagnosis is frightening and the whole process can get very complex. It's a dangerous and often fatal disease. When you combine that with mistakes made by medical professionals, your odds of serious complications increase. You may miss an important window for treatment. You and your family need to know what rights and legal options you have.

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