Almost all women are familiar with two types of breast exams. The first of these, the physical exam, is performed each year as part of the annual physical. The physician, frequently the woman’s gynecologist, will check the breasts and armpits for lumps or other abnormalities. Women will also be asked if they have had any symptoms, such as pain in the area.
The second test most women are familiar with is the mammogram. The mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. This procedure, performed at different intervals based on the woman’s age, is either preventative or the first diagnostic step if follow-up is needed after the physical exam.
But breast cancer diagnosis does not begin and end with these two tests alone. There are three other reasonably common procedures doctors can prescribe when dealing with potential a potential cancer diagnosis. These are:
- Ultrasound, which uses sound waves to produce images of the breast tissue
- Biopsy, where a sample of breast tissue is extracted and tested for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells
- An MRI of the breast, which uses radio waves to map breast structures
A skilled and experienced physician must be aware of all these tests and must be ready and willing to prescribe them. Breast cancer is a serious diagnosis, and the quicker the diagnosis is made the better the chance of a positive prognosis. Sadly, physicians do not always move past physical exams and mammograms when looking at the potential of breast cancer.
If you or someone you love has suffered or died due to a missed breast cancer diagnosis, you are well aware of how important these tests can be. Doctors must be fully trained on the different tests available to combat this devastating disease. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can help you press the compensation to which you are entitled.