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Facts about breast cancer testing


With all the tests used to determine breast cancer, sometimes multiple exams may produce different results. For example, while genetic DNA testing may reveal a low risk for cancer, traditional tests results for the same patient may be the exact opposite. There is some information that might help Oregon women who are facing this dilemma.

To find more about the problem, a study was conducted in nine countries in Europe on nearly 6,700 patients. It found that a genetic tesprovided results that are more accurate for women who were found with breast cancer in the early stages, even though the traditional test revealed they were at high risk. As a result, these patients generally survived five years with no signs of cancer even though they opted out of chemotherapy, which were the same results as the patients who went through chemo.

The test works by evaluating 70 genes relating to the breast tumor’s chance of metastasizing. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration approved it, which sells for $4,200. Several private insurance companies and Medicare have agreed to cover the cost.The purpose of the research was to evaluate the role of genetics in identifying and guiding cancer treatment, especially in relation to chemotherapy treatment and if patients can safely skip it.

Patients who are suffering with a serious illness such as cancer are fully dependent on physicians to correctly treat their condition. Whenever a doctor or another medical practitioner fails to diagnose a cancer patient, and the patient’s illness grows worse as a result, the patient might want to contact a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse might be available.

Source: STAT News, “When DNA and medical tests disagree about breast cancer risk, which to believe?”, Sharon Begley, Aug. 24, 2016