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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and those who use social media will be familiar with the many posts which appear to illustrate the signs to look out for such as swelling or lump in the breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple discharge or the nipple turning inward.

If you go along to your GP a referral may be made to your local hospital and there you may have a mammogram, ultrasound and possibly a biopsy. Many lumps are found to be harmless but for those found to be cancerous it is better to catch it earlier rather than later so treatment can be started as soon as possible.

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago and her care under the NHS was excellent from investigation through to surgery and reconstruction.

Occasionally however things do go wrong.

One client had a history of benign breast cysts for which she had been seen on a number of occasions at her local hospital. In June 2009 she was re referred by her GP as a new lump had developed but was larger than with previous lumps and the nipple was in drawing. She had a mammogram and ultrasound and was reassured the lump was nothing sinister. In January 2010 she returned to her GP as she was concerned the lump was increasing in size and there had been further in drawing of the nipple. She was referred to a different hospital where she had a further mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. Cancer was diagnosed. The first hospital was at fault for failing to carry out a biopsy as a biopsy would have led to a prompt diagnosis. It was also found the first hospital had misinterpreted the scans taken in June 2009. The 8 month delay in diagnosis meant the client had to undergo radiotherapy and she had an altered prognosis.

Fortunately these cases are the exception but do illustrate how important proper investigations and prompt treatment are if a patient is to have the best possible outcome.

If you have had a delay or misdiagnosis of breast cancer, contact us on 01603 877000 or sarawestwood@m-j-p.co.uk.

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