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Male breast cancer may often be misdiagnosed

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2013 | Medical Malpractice

Breast cancer can be a devastating diagnosis. Over 230,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States. Just over 2,200 men are diagnosed with the disease. Although this disease rarely affects men compared to women, the lower number of diagnoses may be detrimental to accurately diagnosing the men who do have breast cancer.

Many times men are quick to ignore a lump in their breast. This is because people don’t often associate breast cancer as a disease that men get. Because men don’t often get the disease, they think it is just something else, until other symptoms occur. At that point it is possible the cancer has gotten to a worse stage than when it was initially discovered. When a patient isn’t aware of a disease that they have it is important that doctors are able to properly address a patient’s concern and accurately diagnose the disease.

Because this disease is so rare, even doctors are reluctant to say it is breast cancer. Some might just disregard the lump as a mass, or something to keep their eye on. If a doctor doesn’t understand a disease they might fail to diagnose the disease or misdiagnose it as something else.

Breast cancer often involves very invasive surgeries or intensive treatment. Having a disease such as breast cancer misdiagnosed could mean a person doesn’t receive the right treatment and maybe even has intensive surgery that wasn’t actually required. It is important that patients ask questions and insist on second opinions if they believe they aren’t getting the correct answer.

Source: Washington Post, “Because male breast cancer is rare, many cases aren’t caught till later stages,” Laura Hambleton, Feb. 25, 2013

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