You may have had your yearly mammogram, expecting everything to be fine. Then you get a call to come back in for further tests.
This could either be because of a false-positive result or something of greater concern to the radiologist. You are open to further testing, and you only hope that the ultimate diagnosis, whatever it is, will be correct.
What false positive means
The radiologist who reads your mammogram will compare the current pictures to those taken a year ago, or whenever you had the previous mammogram. A false positive picture looks abnormal, though no cancer is present. A blurry photograph could be enough to raise the abnormality issue, but the doctor wants to be sure that all is well. Further testing may include another mammogram, an ultrasound, an MRI or even a biopsy.
What the doctor looks for
The doctor will look for anything suspicious, such as lumps or tumors, white spots that indicate calcifications, or anything suspicious that could point to cancer. He or she will probably call for more than one test, and the results will usually be available immediately so that you know what is going on before you leave the doctor's office.
A university study
Researchers from universities across the nation conducted a study to find out how accurate pathologists are when diagnosing breast biopsies. There were 115 participants and, as a group, the doctors made 6,900 diagnoses. They studied test cases involving tissue samples from several kinds of breast cancer. The pathologists were successful in diagnosing three out of four samples correctly.
Going to bat for patients
Mammograms, though not perfect, are the best means available for breast cancer screening. In their study, the 115 doctors correctly diagnosed invasive carcinoma in 96 percent of the cases. Still, there are too many opportunities for a misdiagnosis. If this should happen in your case, you would be eligible to receive full and fair compensation to cover your medical costs, pain and suffering and more. First, however, you probably want to take that diagnosis one step further and receive a second opinion.