Many of us have had friends or loved ones diagnosed with breast cancer, and while treatment options have greatly expanded over time — the prognosis isn’t always good. Around 40,000 women die every year from the disease, and tens of thousands of more are bogged down by the emotional and financial tolls of ongoing treatment. These stressful circumstances can be further compounded by the possibility of medical malpractice. Do you know how to look for the signs?
Breast cancer diagnosis starts with self-awareness. Women are urged to perform self-examinations to increase their chances of discovering lumps early. Not all doctors follow through when a patient finds something concerning, which is the first indication a doctor isn’t taking his or her job seriously. It never hurts to get a second opinion.
Once a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the next step a doctor should take is taking a thorough family history. They do this because breast cancer is hereditary, and certain genes a woman may or may not have can affect how the immune system reacts to the disease. It’s the doctor’s responsibility to perform an accurate family history and act accordingly. Failing in this step can lead to a “cascade failure” of sorts, meaning lots of other things can go wrong one after another.
Depending on the results of the family history, a doctor might order an array of lab tests to discover whether or not you have various genes. This is another point at which medical malpractice situations often arise. There are many people involved in this process. Not only will your doctor have to effectively communicate with lab technicians, but once a treatment regimen is decided upon, he or she will also have to speak with radiologists, nurses, etc. Failing to convey accurate information can lead to delayed treatment.
When lab technicians or doctors fail to read the aforementioned lab tests, there is a strong possibility of delayed treatment, misdiagnosis, or improperly prescribed medications. Any of these three situations can result in out-of-control cancer growth and threaten a person’s chances of survival.
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice across the board. Of course diagnosing anyone isn’t necessarily easy because various illnesses and diseases share many symptoms — but if a doctor is truly negligent or makes a big mistake, then litigation is feasible. Improperly prescribed medications can lead to an array of dangerous side effects or even help the cancer to thrive in a person’s body. Any of these possibilities should be taken very seriously.