With the considerable attention that is paid to breast cancer in Cleveland,
it may surprise many people that a doctor could fail to notice cancer.
Unfortunately, there is a large number of people who are misdiagnosed
or for whom there is a delay in diagnosis every year. What is worse is
that a breast cancer misdiagnosis could be fatal.
Sadly, that is exactly what happened to a 52-year-old woman. She first
started noticing pain in her back, as well as chronic fatigue in February
2008. Over the span of nearly three years, she visited numerous doctors,
but the answers were nearly always the same: chronic fatigue syndrome,
fibromyalgia and psychiatric problems. The doctors were wrong, however,
it was breast cancer.
By the time she was finally diagnosed in December 2010, she had stage 4
breast cancer that had spread to her spine. Not only had the cancer spread,
but it had fractured her back, confining her to a wheelchair. Had the
doctors looked into a testing discrepancy in 2008, she could have been
diagnosed earlier and potentially received a more favorable diagnosis.
Sadly, because the doctors failed to find the cancer, she received a terminal
The woman has chosen not to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, focusing
instead on living “a really great life” in whatever time remains.
This story shows, however, just how serious a failure to diagnose or a
delay in diagnosis can be.
What is truly heart breaking is that the woman had a test in 2008 that
indicated the presence of cancer. She had a follow-up test, however, that
indicated she did not have cancer, leading to the years of misdiagnoses.