Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer Lawyers in NJ
Representing New Jersey patients when doctors misdiagnose cancer
Breast cancer is a growth of abnormal cells within the breast and the surrounding tissues. When caught early, this type of cancer can be treated aggressively with high survival rates. However, when doctors or other medical professionals are negligent and fail to diagnose breast cancer in a timely fashion, many patients will face serious and sometimes fatal consequences in their battles against the disease.
According to BreastCancer.org, about 12% of women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their life. In 2018, 266,120 women are expected to be diagnosed with new cases of breast cancer in the United States, as well as 2,550 men.
Doctors can be liable for medical malpractice if, when they have the opportunity to diagnose breast cancer in a patient, they fail to make the right diagnosis. This is also applicable if they make the appropriate diagnosis, but after too much time has passed. Delayed diagnosis can allow the cancer to grow and decrease the chance of a cure or survival.
The New Jersey cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can help you or a loved one fight for compensation when you were injured by a delayed breast cancer diagnosis. Call us today to talk about your case.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Breast cancer symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Some people may present with lumps or skin changes or swelling, or some people have no obvious symptoms whatsoever. Some lumps may be too small to feel on your own or cause any noticeable changes. Often, these abnormalities show up on routine mammograms and then lead to further testing.
However, for some, the first symptom of breast cancer is a mass or lump in the breast that the patient or doctor can feel. Typically, lumps that are hard, uneven, and painless are more likely to be cancerous, but it’s possible for any mass to be cancerous. It’s important anything unusual is checked by your doctor.
The American Cancer Society notes that any of these changes in the breast can be a sign or symptom of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast.
- Skin irritation or dimpling.
- Breast pain.
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward.
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk.
- Lump in the underarm area.
Although these can also be signs of a less serious condition that may not be cancerous – like an infection or benign cyst – it’s still important to have a doctor immediately look at any changes in your breasts.
Risk factors for breast cancer
There are a variety of risks for breast cancer, including the following:
- Age – The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 60.
- History of cancer – If you or an immediate family member have a history of breast cancer, you have a higher risk of developing the disease. Research shows there are genetic propensities toward the development of breast cancer with the BRCA 1 and 2 genes.
- Reproductive history – Risk of breast cancer increases statistically for women who have never had children or had children later in life.
- Menopause – Women who experience menopause after age 55 have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Race – Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than women of other races.
- Lifestyle – Research also shows that women who are overweight, sedentary, and consume more alcohol may have an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Doctors should be using both ultrasounds and mammograms on their patients in high-risk categories. It’s true that ultrasounds can product false positives, but they’re also much less likely to miss active cancers. If you’re in a high-risk category and your doctor isn’t requiring ultrasound screening, ask him or her why.
And, if you are in a high-risk category and your doctor failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed your breast cancer, talk to a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney.
Treatment options for breast cancer in NJ
Today, there are many treatment options for breast cancer. The types of treatments available are dependent on the type of breast cancer, how advanced the cancer is, and other variables. Options can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or drug therapy that targets or impedes the growth of cancer cells.
New Jersey is home to many breast cancer treatment centers – including Memorial Sloan Kettering, Rutgers Cancer Institute, Steeplechase Cancer Center, Saint Peters University Hospital, and The Cancer Center at Shore Medical Center.
When breast cancer is misdiagnosed
When your physician or health care provider fails to order timely and proper testing that would assist in making a breast cancer diagnosis, or doesn’t follow up on any abnormal exams or tests, you may have a claim for medical malpractice or physician negligence.
A failure to diagnose breast cancer robs a patient of her ability to seek treatment and fight the disease in its early stages, when it’s more curable. Typically, a patient may have grounds for malpractice if certain events – like any of the following – have occurred:
- The doctor fails to either recommend or perform appropriate cancer screening tests.
- Cancer screening tests aren’t properly administered.
- The doctor doesn’t recognize the symptoms indicating cancer.
- The laboratory makes errors that result in a failure to diagnose the cancer.
We see our doctors and specialists because they have great expertise in their field, and we put our trust in them to take care of our health. However, sometimes our trust is ill-placed, and we aren’t given the chance to seek treatment for life-threatening illnesses due to a doctor’s negligence or misdiagnosis.
Let our New Jersey failure to diagnose attorneys help you fight
If your physician failed to diagnose your or a loved one’s breast cancer, talk to the lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Our medical malpractice attorneys will hold the right people responsible for the harm they’ve caused, and fight for compensation on your behalf. We have offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River. Call us at 732-777-0100 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation today.