Millions of Americans and many Illinois residents are affected by cancer. With most types of cancer, early diagnosis and intervention are vital to survival and quality of life. When a cancer is misdiagnosed, it can directly affect the individual and in some cases, even lead to death. According to BreastCancer.org, the statistics surrounding the diagnosis of breast cancer are staggering.

The organization estimates that about 12% of women in the United States, or one in eight, will develop a form of invasive breast cancer during her life. The estimates for 2019 include almost 270,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed and another 63,000 people diagnosed with a non-invasive form of the cancer. Men are also susceptible to breast cancer, and close to 3,000 new cases are expected in 2019. The lifetime risk for a man is around 1 in 883.

Women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer more often than any other cancer except lung. The disease is more common in African American women although the risk of dying from breast cancer is lower in Native-American, Hispanic and Asian women.

It is difficult for researchers to determine exactly how often breast cancer is misdiagnosed, as some women may never know that there was a misdiagnosis and they may not be included in the numbers or know how their treatment was affected by a delayed diagnosis. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 30% of cases of breast cancer are misdiagnosed and almost 90,000 women have had the wrong diagnosis of invasive breast cancer.

Misdiagnosis can mean that treatment is delayed or that preventative measures are not taken. Because cancer can be such a fast-growing disease, this may lead to extreme sickness or death. Anyone who has been misdiagnosed with breast cancer may benefit from meeting with a medical malpractice attorney.