Consequences of delayed treatment for breast cancer

When a person learns they have cancer their world can be turned upside down. Thousands of Pittsburgh residents receive a cancer diagnosis each year. Thanks to modern medicine many of these cancers can be effectively treated. But for many circumstances, the earlier the treatment starts the better. When a doctor fails to diagnose breast cancer, the delayed treatment can lead to devastating consequences.

Take, for example, women who do not receive treatment for advanced breast cancer within 60 days of diagnosis. These women have a much higher rate of death than those who do. For instance, a study from Ohio State University showed that women who waited more than 60 days had an 85 percent higher risk of dying from cancer. Early treatment for breast cancer often times has a 5-year survival rate of 98 percent.

A wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis for cancer can lead to a medical nightmare. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women but mistakes can be made in its diagnosis. A medical provider can fail to review a patient’s medical history, missing a history of women in the family having breast cancer. Or a radiologist can misread a biopsy and miss an important cancer marker. A failed diagnosis of breast cancer can lead to the cancer spreading and moving into a more advanced stage that has a lower survival rate.

If a person believes their cancer was misdiagnosed they may want to discuss their concerns with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. Holding a medical professional responsible for their negligence will help others from suffering the same fate.

Source:, “Delayed Treatment for Advanced Breast Cancer Has ‘Profound Effect’,” Nov. 21, 2012