Breast cancer claims the lives of over 40,000 women every year.  Waiting for mammogram test results is therefore a lonely and fearful time for patients in Kansas and Missouri.  For those diagnosed with breast cancer, support is essential.  Trust in the doctors and medical staff treating the illness is vital; the lives of breast cancer patients are very literally in the hands of the medical caregivers responsible for their care.

The importance of mammograms

Overwhelmingly, statistics prove that early detection is the key to breast cancer survival.  Coupled with self-examinations, mammogram screenings are the first line of defense for the nearly 200,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year.  The American Cancer Society stresses the importance of  yearly mammogram screenings for women over forty.

Fatal mistakes

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to mammogram screenings.  The relatively high incidence of breast cancer misdiagnosis from false-negative mammograms results in the failure of the screening to catch the disease in time.  Mammograms carry a whopping 10 percent false-negative rate.  False-negative rates indicate the failure of screening tests like mammograms to detect a malignant tumor.

When breast cancer is found in the beginning stages, survival rates are very high.  When confined to the actual breast and detected early, breast cancer carries a five-year survival rate of almost 100 percent.  If the screening test is misread and the tumor is not detected while the disease is still in the first stage, by Stage IV the survival rate drops to just around 20 percent.  Early detection literally means the difference between succumbing to the disease and survival.  Proper diagnosis is a matter of life and death.


An estimated 10,000 women are misdiagnosed each year. How does this happen?  The answer is that the medical personnel charged with catching the disease in its early stages are misreading the test results.  According one study, of the radiologists tested in the sample, 75 percent were successful at detecting breast cancer tumors on mammograms just 70 percent of the time. 


In other words, only three-quarters of the radiologists caught breast cancers on mammograms with an accuracy rate of 70 percent.  At least 25 percent of the radiologists in the study had a failure rate of more than 30 percent.  The results are sobering.  If you are a woman undergoing a mammogram for breast cancer screening, your results might only be correctly interpreted by three out of four radiologists.

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.