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Indiana Medical Malpractice and Delayed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer: Sooner Is Better

Oct 13, 2009 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley & Pennington, P.C. remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in every 8 women will have invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. The cause of breast cancer is not fully understood. A number of risk factors are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer including female gender, increasing age, genetic changes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), and personal or family history of breast cancer. Hormone therapy, diet and lifestyle choices may also have some association with increasing the risk of breast cancer.

Earlier diagnosis and better treatment have decreased the number of breast cancer-related deaths. The earlier a breast cancer is found, the more treatable it is. Tumor size and whether cancer has spread are the most important indicators for the patient’s survival. For this reason, the American Cancer Society has established screening recommendations for the early diagnosis of breast cancer–before a woman has symptoms:

1. Women over age 40 should have a screening mammogram every year.

2. Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have a physical breast exam at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a physical breast exam every year. 

3. Women at special risk may need earlier or extra screening and should look to their physician for advice. For example, in women at high risk or women with very dense breasts, a screening MRI is recommended in addition to the mammogram.

Additionally, the American Cancer Society recommends that women start monthly breast self-exams at age 20.

Whether you are male or female, if you find a new lump or mass in your breast, it is important to have it checked out by your physician. A new breast lump is the most common presenting sign of breast cancer.

Unacceptable delay in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can occur on account of malpractice. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer, contact the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley & Pennington, P.C. for a free consultation.