Early detection is crucial to successfully fighting breast cancer, as a delayed diagnosis can greatly diminish the chances of survival.
At Kline & Specter, PC, we understand how distressing it can be when a doctor’s medical negligence leads to serious injury or even death to you or a loved one. With more than 40 lawyers, several of whom are also doctors, we can help with breast cancer cases. Please call our offices directly at 800-243-1100 to schedule a free consultation.
Statistics and Symptoms
Breast cancer is second only to skin cancer among the most common female cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 230,000 new cases annually, with about 40,000 deaths. A woman’s breast cancer risk approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (offspring, sibling or parent) who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for a woman with breast cancer is 88 percent if treated in Stage I of the disease. That survival rate plummets to 15 percent if treated in Stage IV.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- Formation of a breast lump or thickening (or increased density) that feels unlike the surrounding tissue
- Alteration in size, shape or general appearance of the breast
- Bloody discharge from the nipple
- A newly inverted nipple
- Redness, discoloration or “pitting” of the skin over the breast (like the skin of an orange)
- Peeling, scaling or flaking of the areola (pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple)
Prevention and Treatments
According to the Mayo Clinic, survival rates for breast cancer are linked directly to early detection, which can greatly help reduce the need for therapeutic treatments and minimize pain and suffering. Starting at 20, women should conduct monthly breast self-exams and begin scheduling physician performed clinical breast exams at least every three years. At 40, women should receive clinical breast exams and screening mammograms annually, along with continuing their own monthly breast self-exams. There are various tests and procedures commonly used by doctors to diagnose breast cancer, including breast ultrasounds, mammograms, biopsies, and MRIs. Along with these measures, women can reduce their breast cancer risk by leading a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and drinking less alcohol.
There are also a wide array of treatments available for those suffering from breast cancer. They can include surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy or lymph node dissection), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted drugs. You may feel overwhelmed as you make difficult decisions regarding your treatment. Many women opt to seek a second opinion from a breast care specialist when considering treatment options.
Breast Cancer Case Study No. 1: Tom Kline proved that a clerical error between a doctor and a company that provided mammography services allowed a patient’s breast cancer to go undetected for eight months. A Lehigh County jury found both defendants to be negligent in failing to diagnose breast cancer and awarded the patient $33.1 million. She eventually died. (See the Welteroth Case)
Breast Cancer Case Study No. 2: In a wrongful death case, a Montgomery County jury awarded $3 million to the estate of a woman—survived by her husband and four children—who died of breast cancer after a doctor misread her mammogram, missing key signs of carcinoma. (Lackman)
If a doctor’s medical negligence when dealing with breast cancer has led to serious injury or death to you or a loved one, contact a breast cancer attorney today for a free evaluation of your case. We represent clients like you in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.