Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

New Medical Technology: Not Always Better at Diagnosis

September 18th, 2014 at 9:11 am

detecting breast cancer, digital imaging mammograms, expensive technology, new medical technology, Westport medical malpractice attorney, cancer, digital imaging technologrecent study, conducted by researchers at Yale University Medical School of Medicine, concluded that despite the astronomical costs being spent for digital imaging mammograms, this new medical technology may be no more effective in detecting breast cancer than previous methods.

The study analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. The research team looked at two groups of women, age 66 years of age or older, who had no history of breast cancer over two separate two-year periods. The first group was comprised of 137,150 women who had been tested between 2001 and 2002. The second group was 133,097 women between the years 2008 to 2009.

In the first group, only 2 percent of the women were given mammograms using digital imaging technology and less than 4 percent were tested using computer-aided detection methods. In the second group, those numbers jumped to 30 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The amount billed to Medicare for the two groups increased sharply. The cost of mammography screenings for the first group was $666 million. The cost of the second group was $962 million.

Although digital imaging and computer-aided detection was used more frequently, and at a greater expense, the study found no difference in rates of cancer detection.

The research team urged more research be done to determine what benefit, if any, is had by this new medical technology. In the report, the team wrote, “Our enthusiasm for new technologies should not replace strong, consistent evidence that the benefits of the new technology outweigh the harms in a clinically important way.”

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation that it was no longer necessary for women who were in their forties, and who were not at a high risk for breast cancer, to receive routine mammograms. This was a contradiction of what had previously been recommended. However, there continues to be much debate on who should be screened, at what frequency, and what technology should be used.

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

Double Mastectomy Procedures: Study Finds No Benefit to Most Patients

June 7th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

breast cancer, Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, double mastectomy, double mastectomy procedures, ovarian cancer, reconstructive surgery, Westport medical malpractice attorneyWhen a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the most common options of treatment is a mastectomy. An increasing number of women are choosing to have double mastectomies, even when the cancer only appears in one breast. But a new study, conducted by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, concluded in most cases a double mastectomy is unneeded.

Researchers followed the cases of 1,447 women who were diagnosed and treated for cancer in one breast and had not had cancer show up in the other breast. Eight percent of the women in the group had opted for a double mastectomy – medically referred to as a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM). The data showed that women with higher education levels, as well as women who had undergone an MRI prior to treatment, were more likely to choose a CPM.

Seventy percent of the women who chose to have a CPM did not have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. They also did not test positive for mutated BRCA genes. A positive test to mutated BRCA genes indicates a strong likelihood of breast (and ovarian cancer). It is medically recommended that women who test positive undergo CPM.

The researchers concluded that undergoing a CPM offers no increase in survival rates because of the low rate of recurrence of cancer showing up in the other breast when just a single mastectomy is performed. In the study, only three percent of women had a recurrence.

The study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, also points out that women who opt for CPM face much longer and more difficult recovery times, not only for the CPM surgery, but also for the reconstructive surgery that many women choose to have.

If you have suffered side effects from an unnecessary surgery or surgical error, contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney today to find out what legal action you may be able to take.

CT Scans Increase Risk of Cancer

March 14th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

CT scan, cancer, carcinogen, lawyer, attorney, medical malpractice, Westport, The New York Times recently reported on the enormous increase in the use of medical imaging and the impact that increase has had in the number of cancer deaths in the last two decades.

Cancer is the number two cause of death in the United States, but it is quickly catching up to and may soon surpass the leading cause of death – heart disease. Medical imaging – particularly CT scans – exposes the patient to high doses of radiation. According to the Mayo Clinic, a CT scan performs by    combining “a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body.”

The radiation from a CT scan (also referred to as a cat scan) is 100 to 1,000 times higher than X-rays. Many doctors have always concluded that the benefits of using CT scans for diagnostic purposes far exceeded the risks of that exposure. Today, however, in a 2009 study, the National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP) reported that there will be an extra 29,000 cases of cancer caused from CT scans performed in the year 2007. And 14,500 of those cancer cases will be terminal.

In another study, the NCRP also reports that in 1980 there were 3 million scans performed. Today, there are 62 million CT scans performed annually.

The correlation between the radiation in CT scans and cancer has been documented in several studies. Just one CT scan exposes a person to enough radiation that could cause cancer and has been compared as the same amount of radiation exposure as people were exposed to in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many who later died of cancer.

Research has also revealed that children are even more at risk than adults. They are three times more likely to develop brain cancer or leukemia from CT scan radiation exposure.

Medical experts say that better guidelines and standards need to be established on the use of medical imaging. They also say that better oversight is needed. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is only responsible of the approval of scanners, but does not have any jurisdiction on how they are used.

If you have suffered injuries or illness brought on by medical error, contact a qualified Westport medical malpractice attorney today to find out what kind of civil options you may have for pain and loss.

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