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Medical Malpractice Attorney Gives a Complete Guide to Breast Cancer Screenings


Breast cancer screening can help detect tumors in the earliest stages, making treatment more effective. If there is a mistake made in reading the results or screening isn’t done when warranted, it could be a case of medical negligence.

If you believe that you were injured or became ill as a result of a doctor’s careless or reckless actions, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney to learn how you can protect your legal rights.

An Overview of Breast Cancer Screening

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a woman can lower her risk of dying of breast cancer with regular screening. Early detection is crucial when breast cancer is present. However, certain women may have a higher risk.

The following factors may indicate a woman is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer:

  • breast tissue is dense;
  • biopsy shows breast changes;
  • prior history of breast cancer;
  • heavy drinker;
  • early menstruation and/or late menopause;
  • genetic changes (BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation);
  • long-term use of menopausal hormonal therapy;
  • obesity;
  • physical inactivity;
  • radiation treatment in the past; and
  • family history of breast cancer.

Recently, there have been conflicting reports on when a woman should start undergoing a regular breast cancer screening. While the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force no longer recommends that women between the ages of 40 and 49 undergo regular screening (unless there are strong reasons to do so), Susan G. Komen and other experts (such as the American Cancer Society), believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

As a result, they recommend that screening for breast cancer begin at age 40. The controversy mostly surrounds the risk of a woman receiving a false positive outcome.

False positives can cause a great deal of stress and lead to additional unnecessary testing. However, tests are usually recommended in order to know if breast cancer is present.

All experts agree that women between the ages of 50 and 69 undergo regular screenings. If you believe that there was sufficient reason for your doctor to order a screening test and it was not done, you may be able to file a claim against him or her if it resulted in serious consequences.

Mammograms are recommended every 1 to 2 years. However, there are risks with these tests, in addition to false positive results.

Some of the other risks of mammograms include overtreatment, overdiagnosis, and exposure to radiation. Moreover, there is no guarantee that they will necessarily save a patient’s life. Most cases are unique and will require the doctor/patient to make an informed decision about the risks versus the benefits.

False negatives are another concern. In this case, a mammogram may show everything is fine when, in fact, cancer is present. On average, up to 20% of tumors are missed when a woman undergoes screening. Most of the time, a false negative is due to high breast density. They also tend to occur in younger women.

Seeking Help from a Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Women should discuss with their doctors the pros and cons of screening at any age. However, there may be decisions made that are actually harmful to a patient’s health. If it was the result of negligence, the doctor may be held liable.

If you believe that you suffered illness or injury because of medical negligence, you should seek legal counsel from an experienced medical malpractice attorney. To learn if you have a legitimate claim, contact The Becker Law Firm. Contact us today for a free initial consultation – (440) 252-4399.

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