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New test can eliminate breast biopsy errors

Illinois women may be interested in a new test that ensures that a woman receives the correct diagnosis from a breast biopsy. One doctor said that possibly 1,000 to 1,500 receive inaccurate diagnoses every year. They're either told they have breast cancer when they don't or they're told that they're cancer-free when they are in fact suffering from breast cancer.

The misdiagnoses are due to the high number of steps involved in testing a breast biopsy. A medical expert said that it's easy for a human error to happen during the testing process. The test result can easily be assigned to an incorrect person. The error has two negative outcomes. A person without cancer is told they're sick while a person with cancer goes untreated.

A new test eliminates that risk by coupling the biopsy with a DNA swab from the woman. If the biopsy comes back positive, it's sent to a lab to be tested with the DNA sample. The DNA is tested to make sure both the biopsy and the DNA are from the same woman. The test costs $300 and one doctor said he is advising all of his patients to opt for it. He said that many are choosing to pay the money out-of-pocket if it's not covered by health insurance.

The new test is a positive step towards eliminating dangerous and costly misdiagnoses. If a woman is inaccurately diagnosed with breast cancer, she could undergo chemotherapy, a lumpectomy or even a mastectomy. A woman who has been misdiagnosed and has undergone unnecessary treatment may be able to pursue a medical malpractice action. She could pursue damages for the cost of the treatment along with any pain and suffering she may have suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis.

Source:, "New, improved breast biopsies", Jodi Mohrmann, May 14, 2014

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