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What Do I Do If My Breast Cancer Was Misdiagnosed?

When the news of a breast cancer diagnosis is incorrect, it can be overwhelming. The relief of knowing that the cancer wasn’t present can be quickly replaced with a feeling of confusion and fear.

After all, what do you do if your breast cancer was misdiagnosed? It’s important to take the time to understand the implications of a misdiagnosis and the steps needed to move forward.

First and foremost, it’s important to find out why the misdiagnosis occurred so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. From there, you can look into options for further medical testing, how to treat breast cancer, and discuss your legal options with a medical malpractice attorney.

This blog post will discuss in detail what to do if you have been misdiagnosed with invasive breast cancer and how to best cope with the experience.

What Causes Misdiagnosis?

According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and a delayed diagnosis can occur in up to 71% of patients treated by physicians without breast cancer expertise.

There are several reasons why a doctor may fail to diagnose breast cancer, including:

Faulty Testing Devices and Results

Occasionally, faulty testing devices or lab results may cause a misdiagnosis. Examples of defective testing devices include mammograms and ultrasounds that yield false positives or negatives; for example, a mammogram might show some signs of calcification in the area being tested when there are none.

The problem could also lie in the misinterpretation of the results. Misinterpretation leads to inaccurate test readings, such as high estrogen levels, indicating a need for more diagnostic testing when they are normal (a woman’s estrogen levels vary throughout her menstrual cycle).

For instance, a patient’s breast cancer might be at stage 2, but their doctor might assess them at stage 3 because they looked at their risk factors rather than reviewing their medical records before diagnosing them as stage 2.


Delays between receiving a diagnosis and beginning treatment could lead to further complications if cancer has already metastasized by the time treatment begins.

Additional cancers found during treatment after it has already started may also be misdiagnosed due to incorrect information on previous biopsies, X-rays, or other imaging studies.

Doctor’s Negligence

Sometimes doctors make mistakes that result in misdiagnosed breast cancer cases. For instance, a doctor might fail to order necessary tests to confirm a patient’s condition or neglect to properly examine the patient, leading them to miss signs of cancer.

Difficulty Identifying Symptoms

Breast cancer symptoms may vary from one person to another. One sign does not always point directly to breast cancer. For instance, many women report a lump on their breast only after experiencing pain from lumps in other areas of their body caused by metastases.

Women with dense breasts are also much more likely to feel bumps since denser tissue means less space for tumors inside the breast. Additionally, many cancers grow too slowly to produce noticeable symptoms over time, sometimes taking ten years or longer to grow large enough to be detected.

How To Deal With A Misdiagnosis

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer only to find out later that it was misdiagnosed, consider the following:

Get a Second Opinion

It is important to remember that if you have been misdiagnosed with breast cancer, you should not blame yourself for the mistake. It could have happened to anyone, and it is not your fault. The best thing to do if you have been misdiagnosed is to get a second opinion and seek the advice of an experienced cancer specialist.

Review Your Treatment Options

Part of the fallout from a misdiagnosis is that you might have already undergone specific treatments, which may or may not have been successful. You should speak to your healthcare provider about the best course of action.

They will take a look at your original tumor and go over all of the treatment options. For instance, if you had surgery and radiation therapy but both turned out to be unnecessary, you may want to forego those treatments and start fresh. The important thing is that you continue to be proactive in making decisions that matter to you, regardless of whether or not cancer is involved.

Speak with a Breast Cancer Attorney

Another option is to seek the advice of a legal professional. Depending on the circumstances, you can seek compensation for any harm caused by the misdiagnosis by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Breast cancer misdiagnosis lawyers help review the facts and determine whether or not you have a legal case.

It is important to remember, though, that seeking justice in this way can be lengthy, so it is best to consider other options first. Ultimately, your decision should be based on what is best for your physical and emotional well-being.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

Breast cancer symptoms may be similar to some other conditions, such as:

Mastitis- Some signs include fever, chills, breast pain, and redness. Also, breast lumps are not present in mastitis or inflammatory breast cancer.

Fibroadenoma– The most common symptom is abnormal breast tissue that feels like a lump. Benign tumors are the most common type of breast mass found in women under 30, while malignant tumors are more prevalent among women older than 30.

Pregnancy- Pregnant women who experience nipple discharge (especially after childbirth), spontaneous bleeding, and unusual breast swelling should see their doctor because they may have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which has a high cure rate.

Contact Frischman & Rizza for the Best Medical Malpractice Counsel in Pittsburgh

If you have been misdiagnosed and would like to recover compensation, you must speak to an experienced attorney who knows how to evaluate cases and pursue them aggressively.

At Frischman & Rizza, we can help you take the fight to the medical team responsible for your misdiagnosis. Our firm has handled all medical malpractice claims involving missed diagnoses, botched operations, and preventable errors.

We have a team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys ready to discuss your case.

Contact us today at (412) 291-9377 to schedule a free consultation.

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