Breast cancer is deadly. Just ask any woman. Evidence of breast cancer clusters are becoming more common especially in New York and Long Island. Mammograms, gynecology visits, breast exams, biopsies and diagnostic tests are all designed to detect and track changes in a woman's breast. As a lawyer who has represented injured victims for over 19 years in the State of New York, I'm going to give you 15 questions you should ask yourself if you've been diagnosed with breast cancer. 1. Did you have any symptoms with your breasts to suggest there might be a problem? 2. If you had noticed a problem such as a lump or discharge from your nipple, how long did it exist before you went to the doctor? 3. Do you regularly do breast exams on yourself- the way your gynecologist showed you how to do it? 4. When you first went to a doctor with your breast complaint, what did the doctor do about it? 5. What questions did the doctor ask about how long the condition existed, or whether you noticed it getting bigger or changing? 6. Did the doctor do a breast exam while you were sitting up, and also while lying down? 7. Was a mammogram ordered and done? 8. Was a needle biopsy done? 9. Was a CAT scan, MRI scan or x-ray done? 10. What were the results of the tests you had done? 11. Did your doctor tell you there was a chance the tests were "false negative" or "false positive" suggesting they might not be accurate? 12. If you were diagnosed with breast cancer, what type of cancer was it? Slow growing, fast growing? 13. If the cancer was diagnosed earlier, what treatment would you have received compared to the treatment you actually got? 14. Because of a delay in diagnosing your cancer, has your life expectancy changed significantly, compared to what it would have been if it had been detected when you first presented to your doctor with your breast complaints. 15. What treatment do you need now, and what stage is your breast cancer? Has it spread to other parts of your body? By answering these questions, you'll have a better understanding of what a lawyer looks for when you ask yourself whether your doctor misdiagnosed your breast cancer. A key aspect of failure to diagnose breast cancer cases involve the question of what would have been done differently had you been timely diagnosed? As you probably know, treatment for breast cancer ranges from surgical excision of a local cancer to mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed. When mastectomy is done, reconstruction and revision is often done at the same time. Radiation and chemotherapy are also common treatments that have significant side effects. As always, ask your treating doctor which treatments are best for you. After that, ask an experienced attorney whether your breast cancer should or could have been detected earlier and whether your treatment and outcome would have been different.
Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer