Gynecologists recommend women do a self-breast check monthly to check for cancerous lumps. Gynecologists will also perform a manual breast check at annual appointments to check for cancerous lumps.
However, not all women with breast cancer have lumps. This means a cancer diagnosis can be delayed until a mammogram is performed. This delay can cause a worsened condition and the oversight could constitute medical malpractice.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Doctors can look for the following symptoms of breast cancer, even if they do not feel a lump in the breast. These symptoms include:
- Nipple or breast skin changes, including contour changes, bruising and rashes
- Pain in the breast, armpit, back, abdomen, chest or musculoskeletal system
- Lumps elsewhere, such as in the armpit, neck or lymph nodes
- Swelling, inflammation or infection in the breast or arm
- Fatigue, weakness or weight loss
Sometimes a woman has only one or two of these symptoms. Other times a woman may manifest many of these symptoms.
The consequences of a delayed or missed diagnosis
If your breast cancer diagnosis is missed or delayed, you will likely need aggressive treatment because the cancer is more advanced. In addition, your prognosis and five-year survival rate may be negatively affected.
These delays and oversights could constitute medical malpractice because they could be avoided if your doctor performed a mammogram or noticed other signs of cancer. The doctor did not meet their duty of care and you were therefore harmed due to the doctor’s actions.
A breast cancer diagnosis is both serious and scary. Learning your diagnosis was missed can be emotionally distressing and a delayed diagnosis can worsen your condition.
If you believe you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can seek professional counsel to learn more about this type of claim.