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Supplementary testing may catch breast cancer

New York women might want to learn about a study that shows that traditional mammography doesn't always catch breast cancers that are present. The study involved using an additional test called molecular breast imaging, or MBI, in addition to regular mammograms.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, reviewed data collected from 1,696 women who had dense breasts and who participated in a screening program at ProMedica Breast Care in Ohio between the years of 2011 and 2014. Women who participated in the supplementary program first had mammograms and then also had an MBI screening performed. The supplementary screening detected that 13 of the women whose mammograms were negative actually did have cancer.

The women who had cancer despite having negative mammograms had cancerous lesions ranging from 0.6 to 2.4 centimeters, and 85 percent of those malignancies had not spread to the nodes, meaning that they were in the early stages. Catching cancer early provides a much better prognosis for recovery. A big issue with the MBI screening is that many insurance companies will not pay for the test because it is expensive. If a woman has a high risk for developing breast cancer, however, her insurance company may agree to pay for the screening.

A delayed cancer diagnosis can be very problematic, resulting in a much poorer prognosis or even death. Doctors who fail to order a mammogram, read a mammogram or MRI correctly or order a biopsy may be held responsible for the error if cancer was present and spread after the failure. A person who is the victim of such medical negligence may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to learn more about her rights.

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