Breast cancer is a common and very serious medical condition. Many women get their breast tissue biopsied each year. Unfortunately, a new study found that many biopsy specialists misdiagnose breast tissue. These misdiagnoses can lead to serious complications for patients, including not receiving enough treatment or too-aggressive treatment.
The researchers reported that pathologists have difficulty in diagnosing breast tissue, especially when the tissue indicates the patient has a less serious condition or when the results are normal.
The study found that pathologists diagnosed abnormal, precancerous cells in the breast tissue only 50 percent of the time. This is troubling because misdiagnosing breast tissue can result in delayed treatment and serious complications in the future. Misdiagnosis can also cause patients to think they are suffering from a much more serious condition than they truly are, resulting in undergoing serious and costly medical treatments that could lead to other medical issues.
The researchers said the findings show the importance of getting a second medical opinion. A second opinion can mean having your biopsy tested again to ensure you get the most accurate reading and diagnosis.
Misdiagnosis is more common than patients may realize. Woman should be aware of the risk of misdiagnosis and be sure to get a second opinion if they feel it is necessary.
Patients who are victims of misdiagnosis and have been harmed may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor or medical professional who made the diagnosis. Misdiagnosing a medical condition that harms a patient may constitute medical negligence and could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients and their families should work with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their specific case and what legal options may be available.
Source: CBS Boston, "Study: Biopsy Specialists Frequently Misdiagnose Breast Tissue," Lindsey Tanner, March 17, 2015