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Most radiologists sued for failing to diagnose breast cancer

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it’s extremely important that the person is treated right away to increase his/her chances of survival. Unfortunately, it is common in Ohio (and the rest of the country) for a cancer diagnosis to be missed or delayed, resulting in a diminished chance of successful treatment.

One of the most common cancers that is misdiagnosed – or diagnosed late – is breast cancer. While breast cancer often can be treated effectively if it is caught early enough, survival rates decline the later the diagnosis is made.

In fact, according to a study that was recently published in the journal Radiology, medical malpractice lawsuits against radiologists most often occur after failing to diagnose breast cancer. The study involved surveying medical malpractice data that was reported to a network called One-Call Medical.

In total, the One-Call Medical network showed 4,793 claims filed against 2,680 radiologists in 47 states. The researchers on the study determined that most of the misdiagnosis claims were filed against radiologists who had failed to detect a lesion on mammography scans and therefore did not recommend follow-up testing.

However, the senior author of the study pointed out that the mammography tool itself was also partly to blame in many of the misdiagnosis cases because it had trouble spotting legions in breasts that were dense. Today, he said, technology has improved, so hopefully there will be fewer cases of misdiagnosis of breast cancer.

Even so, delays in cancer diagnoses are still far too common in both men and women. While not all delays in diagnosing cancer are considered medical malpractice, it may be worth checking to see whether symptoms should have been spotted or tests should have been ordered earlier on.

Source:  DotMed, “Radiologists see most malpractice suits for mammography,” Loren Bonner, Feb. 6, 2013