Patt Morrison for July 27, 2010

Who’s responsible for the over 90,000 misdiagnosed cancer cases?

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A study found that over 90,000 people were misdiagnosed with DCIS

The fear that settles in after you’re diagnosed with cancer is rarely of misdiagnosis and more of the cancer spreading, the chemo and radiation, and the thought of dying. But for women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., their mastectomy or radiation treatment may have been treating a non-existent cancer. According to a 2006 study by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, over 90,000 patients diagnosed with D.C.I.S. may have been misdiagnosed. It’s an absolutely terrifying finding, but why exactly are doctors making this mistake? Some cite the small amount of breast cases doctors actually read, which has prompted the College of American Pathologists to require pathologists to read over 250 breast cases a year. And what about all the women diagnosed with D.C.I.S., who opted for double mastectomy out of fear? Were these people wrongfully suffering deep psychological stress and surgery because of a misdiagnosis?


Dr. Jean Simpson, MD, FCAP, Professor of Pathology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Diana Rowden, Vice President for Survivorship and Outcomes for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

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