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Cook County Misdiagnosis Injury LawyerBreast cancer is one of the most well-understood forms of cancer and the field of treatment and diagnosis is continually evolving and improving. Illinois doctors like radiologists and oncologists who work with breast cancer patients are responsible for constantly pursuing appropriate education so they can give their patients an appropriate standard of medical care. When doctors fail to do this, test results can be delayed, misdiagnosed, or poorly managed, leading to adverse patient outcomes and a possible medical malpractice lawsuit. If you have been diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer, it may be helpful to learn more about what this means so you can ensure you are getting what you need. 

What is the HER2 Gene? 

The “human epidermal growth factor receptor 2,” or HER2, is a gene that can contribute to the growth of breast cancer. When a breast tissue biopsy is performed, a written report will have specific information about the tissue, including whether HER2 plays a role in a specific patient’s cancer development. 

More specifically, the HER2 gene creates HER2 proteins that help healthy breast cells grow, divide, and repair themselves. But for an estimated 10 to 20 percent of breast cancer patients, HER2 genes do not work properly. When this happens, HER2 cells may make too many copies of themselves, leading to uncontrolled cell growth and division. 

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Chicago Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis AttorneyThanks to major advances in technology and treatment, breast cancer is currently one of the best-understood types of cancer. Although this can be good news for women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is not a guarantee that breast cancer will always be appropriately diagnosed and treated. 

One of the most important elements in properly anticipating, diagnosing, and treating breast cancer is a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s current health, health history, and risk factors for breast cancer. Physicians who practice an appropriate standard of care will take all of these issues into account and strive to provide the best care for their patients. When they fail to do this, breast cancer patients can suffer from late diagnoses, misdiagnoses, and serious injury or death from cancer that has advanced past the point where it can be treated. Here are some common risk factors physicians should be aware of when assessing a patient’s risk of breast cancer. 

Natural Risk Factors 

Patients may not be able to change certain risk factors, but awareness is a great first step in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Natural breast cancer risk factors include: 

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Chicago Personal Injury LawyerEvery year, incredible new diagnostic and treatment options are developed for detecting and managing breast cancer. While it is crucial for doctors to understand each of these options so that cases of failure to diagnose and other medical malpractice are minimized, it is also necessary for patients to be informed about their options. 

Mammography is one of the most important resources for finding breast cancer, but not all mammograms are the same. If you are in the early stages of finding out more about breast cancer, read on. 

Screening Mammograms

Screening mammograms are given during regular breast exams to detect cancer early, when it is easiest to treat. Screening mammograms use x-rays in safe, low doses so women can have regular mammograms–usually once a year around age 45 or later. Screening mammograms are usually the first strategy for looking at potentially cancerous tissue that can be further investigated and treated if necessary. 

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chicago medical malpractice lawyerBreast cancer appears in many different forms. Doctors who specialize in breast cancer treatment, such as radiologists and oncologists, must be able to correctly distinguish between the different types of breast cancer so a patient gets the necessary treatment. But when doctors do not order the appropriate diagnostic tools, a misdiagnosis may occur, leading to inadequate treatment or delayed treatment and serious injury or death. If you are worried that your doctor may have failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed you or a loved one with the wrong type of breast cancer, read on. 

Common Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is initially divided into two categories: Invasive and non-invasive. While non-invasive breast cancer is contained within the milk ducts and glands, invasive breast cancer has already spread beyond the ducts and glands into the surrounding fatty tissue, muscles, lymph nodes, and beyond. 

Although there are many types of breast cancers, the two most common types of invasive breast cancers are:

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chicago medical malpractice lawyerMammography is a technology that works wonders for many women by detecting breast cancer early enough that doctors can treat it effectively. Using x-rays, mammograms offer a safe and routine screening method for women over a certain age. But if a woman is at an increased risk of breast cancer, she may need to take additional measures to catch developing masses early. These include extra forms of screening, the most common of which is magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. Using a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves, an MRI creates detailed images of breast tissue that can show cancerous growths that a mammogram might miss.

However, no screening measures are effective if they are not used because a doctor ignores or misses risk factors and fails to order necessary diagnostic tests. Insufficient monitoring or follow-up during routine mammograms may lead to the failure to diagnose breast cancer and lawsuits for medical malpractice

Who is at an Increased Risk of Breast Cancer? 

Medical providers have many tools available to estimate a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Although there is no sure-fire way to predict whether a woman will develop breast cancer, some common risk factors include: 

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