Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer diagnoses that women receive. Statistics show that almost 30% of the new cancer cases diagnosed in women are breast cancer. Despite its prevalence, it is also commonly misdiagnosed.
Understanding the most common reasons for breast cancer misdiagnosis can help you advocate for your health and well-being.
Symptoms resembling other conditions
Sometimes, your symptoms may resemble other conditions. For example, some cases may appear to be fibrocystic breast syndrome, in which the breast tissue is dense and fibrous. In other cases, the development could appear to be mastitis in the early stages.
Sometimes, the misdiagnosis is a result of insufficient testing. If the physician fails to order further testing, such as an ultrasound to assess a mass or abnormality, this could lead to misdiagnosis due to a lack of further detail. Detailed mammography, ultrasounds, MRIs and biopsies help unveil cancerous tumors. If there are reasons to believe that the mass is cancerous, these tests are important.
If your doctor orders further testing, but waits months or longer to do so, this allows time for an aggressive cancer to spread. If you receive a diagnosis of late-stage breast cancer after further diagnostic testing that was significantly delayed, that could constitute malpractice on the part of the physician.
Understanding the most common breast cancer misdiagnosis errors makes it easier to advocate for the care that you deserve. If you have concerns about a mass in your breast or the way that your physician handles it, seek a second opinion and protect your rights.