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New York women may need second opinions on biopsy results

Many women undergo biopsies in order to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer and rely on the results to tell them what treatment is needed. A recent study showed that while pathologists agree most of the time about the diagnosis of cancer and normal tissue, pathologists have trouble agreeing on the diagnosis of pre-cancerous conditions. Many women could be put at risk for a range of consequences associated with such diagnostic misinterpretations.

The findings of the study go on to suggest that women that receive a misdiagnosis from a breast-cancer biopsy could be at risk of undergoing unnecessary treatment. In addition to the inappropriate treatment, the patient could experience unwarranted emotional distress over being informed of a pre-cancerous condition. Alternatively, women may not know their risk of developing breast cancer if their pathologist fails to identify a pre-cancerous condition. A misdiagnosis could put the patient at risk of the condition worsening over time.

In light of the study's findings, many doctors are recommending that patients diagnosed with pre-cancerous conditions via a biopsy seek a second opinion. Ultimately, patients rely on diagnostic methodologies, but a biopsy misinterpretation could prevent a patient from receiving optimal care. It's also possible, though rarer, for breast cancer to be misdiagnosed, and it may be more important that a patient get an accurate diagnosis for more serious conditions.

If a medical mistake resulted in a cancer misdiagnosis, a lawyer experienced in malpractice could indicate if the patient has grounds for a claim. Depending on the circumstances involved, the patient could be entitled to compensation for the diagnostic error.

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