When a doctor misses a breast cancer diagnosis, it can prove fatal. Early detection and treatment, as with other types of cancer, is the key. Missing cancer in the early stages massively complicates the process and delays that treatment.
Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may expect, and with a variety of different tests.
For instance, one study looked at doctors who did mammograms at 44 different medical centers. The best one found tumors almost all of the time, edging very close to 100 percent accuracy. However, other centers saw success rates of just 70 percent, meaning that three out of every 10 cases went undiagnosed. Those are not odds that you want to face.
It’s not just mammograms. Doctors also use x-rays. The average amount of misses was a full 21 percent. When you trust your doctor to find cancer, knowing that he or she only averages a 79 percent success rate is concerning.
The range between the best and the worst doctors was also shocking. The average does not tell the whole story. The best doctor located every single tumor on every single x-ray, for a 100 percent success rate. However, the doctor with the worst performance found a mere 27 percent of tumors, missing a gut-wrenching 73 percent of the time.
That said, if you go to an academic medical center, you have better odds. They found cancer and made the right diagnosis in about 88 percent of their cases.
If your doctor fails to find your cancer through negligence, not giving you the care you deserve, you need to know what legal steps to take.