Law Office of Robert A. Miller
Serving Oregon Medical Malpractice And Car Accident Clients Statewide
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Projection about breast cancer diagnoses rising questioned

There are a lot of ways to interpret things when diagnoses of diseases start to rise. It may be that instances of the condition are actually on the increase. It might also be that health care providers have just found a better way of detecting problems and that it results in more cases being discovered.

Sometimes, though, researchers come out with projections about what they think is going to happen with certain diseases based on statistical analysis. What that can lead to are some predictions that can seem very scary. And unless they are looked at carefully and deeply, they might even amount to little more than fear mongering.

If a doctor fails to spot an injury or illness due to negligence, the suffering that can result is something that may spark a claim of medical malpractice. Some might argue that headline-making projections about expected diagnoses in the future, especially if they are questionable, might also be considered negligent. Unfortunately, such a claim probably wouldn't stand up to legal scrutiny.

This comes to mind in light of recent headlines that breast cancer determinations are expected to increase by 50 percent in the next 15 years. The information comes from the National Cancer Institute. But analysts who read through the news reports on the findings say they deserve to be looked at a lot more closely.

One review of the news coverage by Health News Review says elements of the data suggest that the headlines reflect that the report might be motivated by an agenda. Some experts note that the report comes at a time when doctors and their patients are reviewing recommended breast cancer screening practices.

The review says that the study, based on national surveillance information, census bureau data and mathematical projections, presumes that the current environment of intense mammography screenings will continue. It also says that the data includes findings of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). But experts say DCIS isn't an invasive cancer. And there's growing consensus that it shouldn't even be classified as a carcinoma.

If a failure to diagnose s found to constitute malpractice, some might argue that diagnosing something that isn't dangerous and ordering potentially harmful treatments is equally negligent.

What do you think?

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