Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. An early breast cancer diagnosis can save a woman’s life. Gender and age are the two most significant risk factors in developing breast cancer. Consequently, older women are more at risk for developing breast cancer and doctors should monitor them accordingly. However, any woman can develop breast cancer because of other factors such as genetics, race, family history, endocrine and environment.
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women in the United States. So far doctors and scientists have found no way to prevent breast cancer so the next best step is early diagnosis. If a doctor fails to detect breast cancer and the cancer advances, the patient can suffer harm. Advanced-stage breast cancer is more difficult to treat and the risk of death is higher.
A lawsuit for failure to diagnose breast cancer falls into the category of medical malpractice. In order to establish a medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient or plaintiff has the burden of proof to show four elements:
- The doctor had a duty to diagnose the cancer earlier
- The doctor breached the duty to diagnose the cancer
- The patient suffered injury
- The injury must be caused by the doctor’s breach
The most common failure to diagnose scenario is the physician failed to detect the breast cancer or failed to administer screening tests. When the cancer is finally discovered, it is more advanced so the treatment has to be more aggressive. If the physician had detected the cancer earlier, then the patient would not have to go through the aggressive treatments. It gets complicated determining the amount of damages in cases like this so it is important to have a dedicated, experienced medical malpractice law firm handling your case.
Weston Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer Attorney
The attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. are experienced and knowledgeable about all kinds of malpractice law. In fact, failure to diagnose breast cancer and other women's malpractice issues are of particular interest to Lisa Levine, as well as her specialization. We will take the time to listen to your concerns and give your case the attention it deserves. If you have been injured due to a failure to diagnose breast cancer incident, you have a limited time to file your claim. You should call 954-332-6100 or fill out our online case evaluation form immediately to schedule your free consultation.
Breast Cancer Information Center
- What are the different parts of the breast?
- What is Breast Cancer?
- What are the common and lesser common types of Breast Cancer?
- What are some common risk factors for Breast Cancer?
- What are the signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer?
- What are the common screening methods for diagnosing and treating breast cancer?
- What are the common treatments for Breast Cancer?
- Why do I need a lawyer if there is a Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer?
- milk glands (lobules) that produce milk
- ducts that transport milk from the milk glands (lobules) to the nipple
- areola (pink or brown pigmented region surrounding the nipple)
- connective (fibrous) tissue that surrounds the lobules and ducts
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cells that rapidly grow in an abnormal manner, and these abnormal cells invade the healthy tissues surrounding it. Once the abnormal cells spread or metastasize, the body cannot function normally and if the cancer is not stopped eventually death will occur.
Common Types of Breast Cancer
Ductal carcinoma in situ - This type of breast cancer very common and nearly all women diagnosed at this early stage of breast cancer can be cured. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) means the cancer cells are inside the ducts which are tiny tubes that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipples when a woman is breastfeeding. If cancer is just inside these ducts, it means that it has not spread to the actual breast tissue and therefore is easily treated.
Invasive or Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma - This is type of breast cancer is also very common. Invasive or Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) starts in a duct of the breast, breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. At this point it may spread or metastasize to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system and bloodstream.
Lobular carcinoma in situ - Typically this cancer begins in the milk-producing glands but does not grow through the wall of the lobules so it is self contained. Most cancer specialists think lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) does not become an invasive cancer, but it is still necessary to monitor it because it is a risk factor for developing invasive breast cancer.
Invasive or infiltration Lobular Carcinoma - This type of cancer starts in the milk-producing glands called the lobules. It can spread to the rest of the body via the blood stream and lymphatic systems. Invasive or infiltration Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) can be harder to detect than IDC.
List of Less-Common Types of Breast Cancer
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Triple-negative breast cancer
- Mixed tumors
- Medullary carcinoma
- Metaplastic carcinoma
- Mucinous carcinoma
- Paget disease of the nipple
- Tubular carcinoma
- Papillary carcinoma
- Adenoid cystic carcinoma
- Phyllodes tumor
Gender - Being female increase your chance of getting breast cancer. Men are also victims of breast cancer, but not at the same rate as women.
Age - Older women who are past menopausal age have a higher risk for developing breast cancer than younger women.
Radiation Exposure - If you have radiation exposure or radiation treatments to your chest as a child or adult you have an increased chance of developing breast cancer.
Obesity - Being overweight may increase your chance of developing breast cancer.
Starting your period at a younger age - Starting a period before age 12 may increase your chance of developing breast cancer
Having a child at an older age - Women who have children after the age of 35 may have an increased chance of developing breast cancer.
Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy - Women who take hormone therapy that includes estrogen and progesterone to treat the symptoms of menopause have an increased risk for developing breast cancer.
Family History of Breast Cancer - If you have a mother, sister, daughter or aunt with breast cancer then you might have a higher likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Personal History of Breast Cancer - If you have had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased chance of developing cancer in the other breast.
Race and Ethnicity - Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. Asian, Hispanic and Native-American women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Probably genetics plays an important role in terms of risk for different ethnicities developing breast cancer.
Genetic Risk Factors - About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations or abnormal changes. Mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with these mutations have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime and they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.
Some of the most common signs for breast cancer are:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding areas
- Bloody or clear discharge from the nipple
- Change in the size or shape of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast such as dimpling
- Swelling in the armpit
- Pain in the nipple
- Inverted nipple
- Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
Breast Self-Examination - Involves checking the breast for any problems or changes. Typically the woman is looking for any lumps or tenderness or changes in her breasts. Most lumps are benign, but if the woman discovers anything unusual it is best to seek medical attention immediately to make sure she does not have breast cancer.
Clinical Breast Exam - A clinical breast exam is done by a health care professional. Usually a physician does a clinical breast exam in conjunction with a mammogram. The typical clinical breast exam involves you taking off your clothes about the waist. Usually a gown will be provided for you to wear during the examination. The physician will examine the breast, underarm and collarbone areas for changes in breast size, skin changes or signs of injury or infection.
Mammogram - A mammogram is a type of x-ray that is used to take pictures of soft breast tissue. Usually mammograms will show defects in the breast like lumps and legions and it helps doctors diagnose problems with the breasts.
- Mastectomy = total removal of the breast
- Lumpectomy = removal of only the lump, leaves the rest of the breast
- Early-stage invasive breast cancer can be treated with Chemotherapy to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
- Advanced-stage breast cancer can be treated with Chemotherapy to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible.
- Radiation Therapy
- External Radiation = Typically given after lumpectomy and sometimes given after mastectomy.
- Internal Radiation = Less common method for giving radiation. Depends on what course of treatment your doctor has prescribed whether or not internal radiation will be used as a treatment.
Surviving breast cancer usually means early detection. The earlier you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the better the odds for beating breast cancer. It is the physician’s duty to order the proper screening tests based on your unique family history and medical records. Most of the time, physicians fail to observe the breast cancer when they read the mammogram film or they fail to order screening tests. You are not suing the doctor because you developed cancer, you are suing because the delay in the detection of the cancer has put you in a worse off position in terms of fighting the cancer.
It is important to contact a lawyer immediately when you discover medical malpractice. You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for medical malpractice. The attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. can assist you with filing and taking your medical malpractice case to trial. Failure to Diagnose cases need expert witness testimony to prove and it takes time to calculate the damages you are entitled to with this type of claim. It is important to start building your case right away. Let us take care of the case and you can focus on getting well.
National Breast Cancer Foundation - Breast cancer information, facts, statistics, symptoms and treatments, early detection
American Cancer Society - Dedicated to helping persons who face cancer. Supports research, patient services, early detection, treatment and education.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - How to Conduct a Self Breast Exam
Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Dedicated to education and research about causes, treatment, and the search for a cure
The Care Center for Women - The Care Center for Women at Florida Medical Center offers lymphedema diagnosis and treatment, reconstructive surgery, advanced imaging diagnostics and digital mammography, bone density screenings, stereotactic breast exams, and support groups.The Care Center for Women at FMC Campus
5000 W Oakland Park Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33313
Lisa S. Levine, P.A. | Broward County Cancer Victim Attorney
The Ft. Lauderdale and Miami medical malpractice attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. are experienced in representing individuals throughout Florida who have suffered setbacks due to failure to diagnose breast cancer in a timely manner. Lisa Levine has 20 years of malpractice experience and specializes in breast cancer malpractice representation. Contact our personal injury attorneys today to discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your case. You should call 954-332-6100 or fill out our online case evaluation form immediately to schedule your free consultation. We welcome your calls to our office.