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Mammograms and Cancer Malpractice: What Women Need to Know


Posted on Jan 01, 2012

Last month, the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care issued mammogram screening recommendations that were similar to the recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in 2009.

Both groups are calling for routine mammograms to start at age 50, rather than age 40 as previously recommended, and are no longer recommending yearly mammograms for women under age 75.

These developments, and new screening recommendations, could put a bigger responsibility on doctors to determine which women may need more frequent mammograms. Additionally, doctors may have to pay closer attention to other symptoms of breast cancer in order to prevent the misdiagnosis of cancer that could allow the disease to progress.

Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer may need to have more frequent mammograms than women in the general public. The new screening recommendations do not relieve a doctor from the responsibility of ordering appropriate screening tests when warranted by a patient’s medical history or symptoms.

Thus, experts continue to encourage patients to have ongoing conversations with their doctors about their individual need for screening and about other preventative measures that they can take to avoid a failure to diagnose that may make them victims of breast cancer malpractice.

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