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The misdiagnosis of breast cancer

Misdiagnosis if one of the deadliest forms of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, as it often results in lack of treatment or inadequate treatment. Misdiagnosis, especially when breast cancer is involved, can result in the need for costlier and more extensive medical care, advancement of the disease and even death.

According to findings published in FindLaw, nearly one in every eight American women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many of those women will not find out that they have breast cancer until it is in its advanced stages. This is often due to misdiagnosis and lack of diagnosis, which accounts for approximately 61 percent of all medical malpractice claims involving breast cancer patients.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, early detection of breast cancer is directly associated with decreased mortality rates. Additional findings suggest that the consequences of delay on prognosis is associated with more advanced stages of breast cancer at diagnosis, metastasis of the disease and lower chances for survival.   

The same study goes on to explain that the goal of early detection is to treat breast cancer when the prognosis for long-term survival is still high. Generally speaking, the prognosis is favorable for women with early-stage disease than those with late-stage cancer.

Delay can be on the part of the patient or the provider. In instances of patient delay, the patient fails to seek medical attention after discovering a potentially cancerous symptom. Provider delay, or system delay, occurs when the patient has a hard time obtaining an appointment, scheduling diagnostic tests, receiving a definitive or accurate diagnosis and initiating therapy. 

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