Surgery for breast cancer after initial diagnosis taking longer. A study at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia of women between 1992 and 2005 showed that the average time between diagnosis and surgery increased from 21 days to 32 days. The time from the first cancer related visit to biopsy also increased. This increased treatment delay was greatest for black and Hispanic women and people who live in large cities. Although it is unknown how much of a difference this delay is making, the trend is problematic.
Although the delay in initial treatment has not yet been shown to be clinically significant, women with late stage cancer who wait 60 days or more are 66% more likely to die of any cause over the next 5 years and 85% more likely to die. One concern is that women on Medicaid and Medicare have more difficulty finding a doctor willing to treat them compared with women on private insurance. One recommendation is to develop “patient navigators” to guide low-income people through the treatment process.
The timeliness of the diagnosis and treatment of a breast cancer is critical to an optimal outcome, and malpractice in the diagnosis of breast cancer creates devastating catastrophic injuries to not only the unfortunate misdiagnosed woman but her entire family. While the majority of women receive excellent care, errors resulting in delay diagnosis are not easily detected. Britcher Leone & Roth is able to help women who are concerned about possible misdiagnosis and can help them to know whether they are one of the few who suffered avoidable injury from malpractice.