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How is breast cancer diagnosed?

If you keep an ear tuned to the news then you're probably well aware of the prevalence of cancer. There may be many reasons for this. Some might claim that cancer rates are increasing because of unhealthy life changes. Others, though, may make the suggestion that cancer rates only appear to be increasing because diagnostic measures have advanced significantly, allowing medical professionals to identify cancer in patients that years ago would have been missed. Regardless, the truth remains that this terrible disease is still around and affects many individuals and families. Fighting it can be scary and challenging, but an early diagnosis can make all the difference in one's success rate.

Breast cancer, for example, is extremely treatable in its early stages. In an attempt to catch it right off the bat, medical professionals may turn to an array of diagnostic techniques. Perhaps the most common way to diagnose breast cancer is by having a patient undergo a mammogram, where X-rays of the breasts are taken to identify abnormalities.

But that is not the only way to detect breast cancer. Ultrasound may help doctors spot a mass deep within breast tissue, and a biopsy, where tissue is removed, can help medical professionals determine whether a mass is cancerous. Even an MRI's magnetic and radio waves can be used to provide a better image of the breast's interior, making doctors better able to spot any abnormalities.

As beneficial as these techniques can be, the fact is that far too often medical professionals either fail to order the proper testing, or they fail to correctly read and interpret test results. When this happens, innocent patients are left in the crosshairs of a quickly advancing disease. They can suffer from a worsened medical condition, their medical expenses and lost wages may increase, and, worst of all, their chances of survival can dramatically decrease.

This is wholly unacceptable, which is why people in New York who are affected by a failure to diagnose need to consider taking legal action. While a successful medical malpractice claim may result in the recovery of compensation, it can also hold negligent parties accountable, making them take extra precautions in the future so that no one has to face a similar fate.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Breast Cancer," accessed on May 1, 2017

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