Delayed or Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer for Young Women Are More Common Then You Think.
Breast cancer is often misdiagnosed in younger women, most twenty something and thirty something women are not concerned about breast cancer. They think it is an older woman’s disease, affecting women in menopause rather than women still in their childbearing years. These women are not alone. All too often, their doctors think they’re too young too. Physicians who discount the risk to young women are also the ones who are likely to dismiss the signs and fail to diagnose breast cancer when it is most treatable. Although only one in 18 breast cancer diagnoses affects a woman under 40, the odds are that the cancer she does have will be a more aggressive form of the disease. The cost of a delayed diagnosis for a young woman is immeasurable. Undiagnosed cancer in a woman under 40 may mean the difference between life and death. Studies conducted by the American Medical Association found delays in diagnosis between six and 16 percent of the time. By far, the most common complaint of women who have experienced a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer is the inappropriate reassurance of their doctor that it is nothing without conducting a biopsy. Frequently breast cancers are misdiagnosed as fibroid cysts because both appear as lumps in a woman’s breast. Clinical breast examinations alone are not enough to differentiate between them. Upon detection of a lump, a doctor should encourage his patient to get diagnostic testing, such as an ultrasound, mammogram, biopsy or aspiration. Other detection methods include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), thermography and scintimammography. Unfortunately, testing is not yet perfect. Human errors in performing and reading radiology tests can mean the difference between catching a cancer at an early and highly treatable stage to an advanced stage where certain treatment options are no longer viable. Until doctors appreciate the cost of a delayed cancer diagnosis, many women will have to be their own advocates. If you’ve found a lump or your body simply does not feel right, do not be afraid to demand additional testing to be sure. Listening to your gut could save your life. Source: www.forbes.com, “Young, Healthy…and at Risk for Breast Cancer?”