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False positive mammograms can be devastating for patients

It is estimated that just this year, around 40,000 mothers, friends, wives, sisters and daughters around the nation will die from breast cancer. When a patient in Maryland receives word that something abnormal was found, they often think the worst despite wanting to remain positive. Then, when the crushing news is delivered that scans revealed breast cancer, a woman can feel like her world is crumbling.

However, when additional tests are conducted or treatment is begun, and doctors realize that the lump is actually benign, that the woman does not have breast cancer -- that she is healthy -- the news can be confusing. While an individual that has never experienced this before might be inclined to think that the patient would be elated, research indicates that the reality is far more complicated following such a medical mistake.

A group of researchers examined a population of women that are healthy, but were incorrectly told that they had breast cancer due to a false positive mammogram. Following the correction of the error, many women continued to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression and a mistrust of their body. These victims experienced an increased rate of disturbances in their sleeping and sexual desire.

We detailed last month the extremely serious consequences of when a doctor misses, and thereby delays diagnosing breast cancer in Maryland. Victims of this can pursue a claim of medical malpractice for the years off of their life they may lose due to a delay in providing life-extending treatment and related consequences.

The findings in this study of false positive mammograms show that a misdiagnosis can be damaging as well, resulting in lasting psychological complications. In similar cases of a medical mistake in Maryland, a victim may wish to speak with an experienced attorney to understand if they could be able to financially recoup for their suffering.

Source: ABC News, "Psych Effects Linger After False Positive Mammograms," Katie Moisse, March 18, 2013

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