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Failure to diagnose breast cancer could be fatal

These days, it might be difficult for an Oregon resident to say that he or she does not know someone personally -- or have a friend who knows someone -- who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, this is one type of cancer that has a high survivability rate as long as it is found early and an appropriate course of treatment begins quickly. A failure to diagnose breast cancer within this window could be fatal.

For these reasons, it is imperative that both doctors and patients alike take any signs or symptoms of this disease seriously. Symptoms of breast cancer can vary widely from woman to woman and can include pain, swelling and unusual discharge, among others. For many years, women have been told to conduct a monthly self-exam because one of the most common symptoms of breast cancer is a mass or lump. The mass itself does not have to be painful to be cancerous. In fact, some women feel no pain at all, which is why many are shocked when they receive a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Some women still find it difficult to get their regular doctors to take their symptoms seriously when it comes to breast cancer. A doctor may recommend "monitoring" a lump to see if it increases in size before ordering any further tests to know for sure. This can be dangerous since the size of the lump does not matter.

Failure to diagnose breast cancer in a timely manner could cause the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. At that point, a woman may not just lose a breast, but her life as well. An Oregon woman whose cancer was not caught early due to doctor negligence may file a medical malpractice claim. Every patient deserves to receive the best care possible, and when a doctor falls below acceptable medical standards, he or she may be held accountable through a civil court claim.

Source: cancer.org, "Signs and symptoms of breast cancer", Oct. 15, 2015

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