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According to a study recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), despite a higher cancer rate, mammography screening may not be as accurate for women with a personal history of breast cancer as it is for women with no history.

The Australian study looked at mammography results for women with a personal history of breast cancer and those without and calculated the accuracy of the screening test. Researchers discovered that the sensitivity of mammograms among women with a personal history of breast cancer was substantially lower compared to women without a personal history of breast cancer (a 65.4 percent rate of cancer detection versus a 76.5 percent rate of detection). This does not mean that mammograms are of no use to women with a personal history of breast cancer, but it does mean that their doctors should take extra precautions to make sure that their diagnoses are correct.

Misdiagnosis a Problem

Although exact numbers on the incidence of misdiagnosis of serious health problems are difficult to come by, some studies have attempted to identify the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in the U.S. According to a recent study published by the Journal of Family Practice Management, the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Appendicitis
  • Colon cancer
  • Heart attack

Breast cancer is particularly problematic to diagnose because physicians do not typically adopt an aggressive approach when a patient complains of a lump or other abnormality. Rather, doctors will advise patients to check the lump regularly and will follow up with regular mammograms. This approach may seem reasonable, but it may prove deadly, particularly in light of new findings that mammograms are not as accurate in detecting breast cancer among women with a personal history of breast cancer.

An Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you love has been injured because of a doctor's failure to diagnose a condition, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and advise you on your options. For more information, contact an attorney today.

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