Gorovitz & Borten, P.C.
Attorneys at Law

550 Cochituate Road, Suite 25
Framingham, Massachusetts
Tel: (781) 890-9095
Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 180,000 women per year resulting in
nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States each year. Breast cancer accounts for 1
of every 3 cancers diagnosed. Because 1 of every 7 to 8 women will be diagnosed
with breast cancer during their lifetime, all women should be alert for signs of breast
cancer. The risk of a woman developing breast cancer is significant.  Risk factors
associated with breast cancer include:

  • Early age at the onset of menarche
  • Late age at onset of menopause
  • First full term pregnancy after age 30
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of benign proliferative breast disease
  • Obesity
  • Nulliparity

The introduction of screening programs for breast cancer resulted in an increase
number of breast cancers detected. This higher detection rate was accompanied by
the detection of smaller lesions and an increase in the detection of ductal
carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The diagnosis of smaller and more localized in situ
cancers has translated in a decrease in the mortality rate from breast cancer.
Signs possibly associated with breast cancer include:

  • lump or lumps in breast tissue
  • lump or mass in the armpit
  • thickening of breast tissue
  • change in size or shape of the breast
  • pain in one breast
  • nipple pain in one breast
  • abnormal nipple discharge
  • nipple retraction
  • dimpling or swelling of one breast  

The evaluation of a breast complaint requires a diagnostic work-up. A diagnostic
work-up is more intensive than a screening evaluation based on risk factors for
breast cancer. Screening for breast cancer includes:

  • Breast self-examination
  • Breast examination by medical provider
  • Mammography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Screening mammography is the preferred examination for asymptomatic woman at
risk for breast cancer. Current recommendations for screening mammography in
women without a family history of breast cancer include a baseline mammogram
between ages 35 and 40 followed by a biennial mammogram between ages 40 and
49 and annual mammograms after age 50.

Most breast cancers are adenocarcinomas located in the ducts or lobules of the
breast thus called ductal or lobular in origin. Cancer of the breast can also be
classified as in-situ or invasive (infiltrating). Depending on the amounts of ducts
involved in a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), it is further classified as localized or
diffuse. Ductal carcinoma is believed to progress from intraductal hyperplasia →
atypical ductal hyperplasia → ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) → invasive ductal
carcinoma. Ductal carcinoma accounts for 75% of breast cancers.Invasive breast
cancer can be localized, regional or metastatic. Breast cancer can become invasive
by disseminating to the lymphatics and the bloodstream. The most common
classifications for staging of breast cancer are Stage 0 to IV and TNM (Tumor,
Nodes, Metastasis). These classifications take into account the size of the tumor,
the number of nodes that may be involved and its spread.

In addition, a woman with a positive family history of breast cancer has an increased
risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime. Familial breast cancers
constitute 15% to 20% of all breast cancers. One half of women with familial breast
cancer history have a mutation in a heritable gene called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are considered to be at a
higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 serve
as susceptibility genes to promote tumorigenesis. Patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2
gene mutations should undergo genetic counseling and be screened with breast
MRI scans which have shown to be superior over other screening modalities.

Effective treatment is directly related to the earliest stage a breast cancer is
diagnosed. If your doctor (nurse) fails to diagnose your breast cancer in a timely
fashion, it often results in delayed treatment with severe, debilitating injuries and
sometimes death. If you feel that your health care provider (doctor, nurse) delayed
in any way your diagnosis of breast cancer, contact us to discuss your particular
situation. Protecting your legal rights will benefit you and your family.

If you (or a loved one) are suffering from complications due to a failure to timely
diagnose, delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of  breast cancer, or the
recommended screening guidelines were not followed, let
Dr. Borten and our
Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at Gorovitz & Borten evaluate your case.
We can help you assert your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Information
For a free confidential consultation and receive a response within 24 hours (when
possible), please contact us by phone, fax or e-mail with your question or concern.

Telephone:  781-890-9095     -     Fax:   781-890-9098
Electronic mail:
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