Being diagnosed with an illness like breast cancer can be an emotionally and physically taxing experience for the patient. An error made by the health care professional when evaluating the results of a diagnostic procedure could lead to a patient being misinformed, mistreated and potentially harmed. Findings from a recent study have indicated that this may be relevant to patients who rely on medical professionals to interpret the results of breast cancer biopsies for an accurate diagnosis.

A recent study showed that evaluations of the biopsies were inaccurate as much as 75 percent of the time. Such medical errors may lead to the failure to prescribe an appropriate treatment for the patient’s actual condition. With approximately 1.6 million women having breast cancer biopsies performed each year in the United States, many may need to be concerned about the physician’s accuracy regarding the results. A misdiagnosis in a woman suffering from breast cancer can have a significant impact on her odds for a successful recovery if she is undertreated.

The use of biopsies as the initial diagnostic tool is being used less often, said the study’s lead author. Patients that have undergone a breast cancer biopsy procedure are advised to consider a second medical opinion regarding results in order to optimize the chances of an accurate diagnosis. Alternatives to the biopsy may reduce the number of instances when a condition is misdiagnosed, which ultimately affects recommended treatment and health of the patient.

A misdiagnosed patient may incur physical and financial damages caused by unnecessary treatments or procedures, and in some cases, a failure to diagnose a disease may be detrimental to the patient’s health. An attorney may be able to determine if malpractice played a role in the failure to diagnose the condition accurately, which might help support a medical malpractice lawsuit.