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Study Looks At Potential For Failure To Diagnose Breast Cancer

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the timing and frequency of mammogram screening to detect breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 49. Failure to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage can make a significant difference for the success of a woman’s medical treatment.

The authors of the study, who are affiliated with cancer centers around the country, acknowledge that despite decades of experience with this diagnostic method, guidelines for screening mammography continue to generate confusion among patients and controversy among medical professionals. They note that current mammography guidelines are based on average-risk patients and do not take costs into account.

Lead author Dr. John Schousboe told USA Today that “It is appropriate for women when deciding how often to get a mammogram to make that decision based on how high their risk is.” Relevant risk factors cited by the study include family history of breast cancer, breast tissue density and a woman’s personal breast biopsy history.

The study concluded with “moderate certainty” that the net benefit of widespread screening is small for women who are in their 40s. They also found that rates of false-positive results are twice as high as they are for older women, and cited concerns about overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Women who seek professional medical advice at any stage of life deserve experienced insights and recommendations for diagnosis and treatment that aren’t merely cost-driven. When breast cancer misdiagnosis leads to delays, additional surgeries, lost income and other damages, our California medical malpractice attorneys can explain your legal options.