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Common Medical Errors

The failure to diagnose Breast Cancer is typically because imaging or biopsy was not performed or because diagnostic tests were interpreted improperly. A common cause of physician delay is reassuring a woman that a lump is benign (not cancerous) based on the physical examination alone without obtaining a Mammogram and/or ultrasound and without performing a biopsy. Another error is relying on a recent normal Mammogram to decide not to perform a biopsy or additional imaging such as ultrasound for a lump. Imaging tests may be misinterpreted as benign despite presence of an abnormality or a change from prior examination. Needle or surgical biopsies may miss the area of concern producing a false negative result.

In summary, common medical errors include:

  • Failure to order imaging tests (mammography and/or ultrasound) to evaluate a lump
  • Failure to perform a biopsy procedure
  • Misinterpreted mammography, ultrasound or MRI results
  • False negative biopsy results
  • Failure to follow up with patient