It is crucial for any woman who finds a lump in her breast to see a doctor immediately. For pregnant women in particular, the urgency for medical attention is ten-fold!
During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones surge, and cancer of any kind will be ‘fed’ by the increased levels of hormones. The hormones serve as a sort of fuel for cancer, making malignant cells spread at an explosive rate.
A recent and devastating medical malpractice case illustrates this point. The plaintiff, named “Sarah”, complained to her gynecologist during the first month of pregnancy about a lump in her breast. The OB/GYN referred her to a radiology clinic. There, a sonogram was completed. Based upon his interpretation of the sonogram images, the radiologist found the lump to be benign. However, Sarah continued to tell her OB/GYN, throughout her pregnancy, that she thought the lump was growing. No additional tests were conducted, and the OB/GYN assured Sarah that she was fine.
Eight months later, the lump had become so massive that the OB/GYN finally agreed to refer Sarah to a breast surgeon, a specialist in the treatment of breast disease. A biopsy was performed, but it was too late. The biopsy revealed Stage IV breast cancer, so advanced that it is incurable. By that point, the cancer had already spread to Sarah’s liver, brain and bones. After a struggle with chemotherapy, a mastectomy, lymph node dissection, and radiation therapy, Sarah died leaving behind infant twins and a 27 year-old husband.
The doctors named in the case argued that their original diagnosis was correct, and that the lump they examined and tested was not cancer. Attorneys for Sarah’s family retained an expert radiologist who testified that the interpretation of the sonogram was incorrect. A correct interpretation would have noted the suspicious breast tissue and led to a referral to specialists. Of course, the family attorneys and experts also argued that Sarah should have been referred immediately to a breast surgeon for a biopsy.
As a result of these failures, Sarah lost her chances for an early diagnosis, intervention, and survival.
Contributor: New York medical malpractice lawyer Robert Sullivan. Attorney Sullivan has been recognized as one of the leading trial lawyers in America in several magazines and publications, including the noted publication, The Best Lawyers in America.