A controversy is brewing that may have important implications for all women and efforts to reduce the deaths caused by breast cancer. CNN recently reported on the breast cancer prevention issue which may have implications on Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits.
Over the past two decades as the problems of breast cancer become clearer, a clarion call was made urging all women to get annual mammograms to better detect the cancer at earlier stages. The plea was made especially strong to all women who were over 40 years old, as they seemed the most likely to benefit from the yearly test.
However, new guidelines are now suggesting that there may be little benefit in the test for women in their 40s. This has led to a decrease in use of the test and public outrage by cancer prevention groups who argue that more women will ultimately suffer because of the decrease in testing.
The controversial guidelines were issued in November of 2009 by the U.S. Preventative Task Force, a federal medical advisory board. Instead the group recommended mammograms every two years for women aged 50 – 74. In fact the group argues that the denser tissue in younger women lead to many false positives following mammograms, creating much anxiety over unnecessary biopsies.
Other cancer advocate and survivor groups disagree. They note that while it may be easier to detect breast cancer in older women, the chance of detection in younger woman increases the chance the cancer will be detected at an earlier, more treatable stage.
One of those advocates explained, “I haven’t met many patients who don’t appreciate us being thorough, to trying to find cancers at an early stage. I would still recommend screening mammograms starting at age of 40.”
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti understand that there remains much disagreement over recommended testing practices. However, we have also seen the effects of missed and delayed diagnosis-lives are literally lost every day because of these errors. We strongly encourage all patients who believe that their physicians should have detected a serious illness sooner to contact our office and share your story.
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