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Common ways to diagnose breast cancer


Throughout the month of October, marks breast cancer awareness month in the United States. Throughout the month, campaigns are undertaken to make women and men more aware of the dangers of breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. More women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other type of cancer. Furthermore, it is the second highest cause of death in women --each year 40,000 women will die of breast cancer.

These sobering statistics make it very important that breast cancer be promptly and properly diagnosed by medical professionals. While self-breast exams can be helpful in detecting cancer, medical procedures are available that can help rule out cancer in a woman.

One way to diagnose breast cancer is through a mammogram. This is a specialized x-ray that allows doctors to look for any abnormal breast tissue from a variety of viewpoints. Ultrasounds can also be used to show doctors what is going on inside the breast without damaging the tissue. An MRI can also be used to diagnose breast cancer by using radio waves to get detailed pictures. In some cases, a biopsy might be necessary to determine if a particular abnormality is cancer.

These diagnostic tests are very important when breast cancer is suspected. Therefore, if a physician fails to perform these tests, women can suffer from delayed treatment and a worsened condition. In these cases, women need to understand their legal rights. A failure to diagnose breast cancer can be fatal, and women can be entitled to compensation as a result of the doctor's mistake.

Source: nationalbreastcancer.org, "Breast Cancer Diagnosis," Accessed on Oct. 13, 2014

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